Keele’s ‘Great Donate’ sustainability scheme shortlisted for Green Gown Award

‘The Great Donate’ scheme at Keele University has been shortlisted for a prestigious Green Gown Award for Student Engagement.

The annual scheme is part of the University’s sustainability strategy to recycle, promote reuse, and reduce waste. The scheme enables students moving out of halls of residence and off-campus accommodation to donate surplus food, clothing, and household items, and involves the generous donations of students, the support of accommodation and estates staff, and the input of student volunteers who collect, organise, and sell kitchen items at the beginning and end of each academic year.

In the summer of 2018 almost three tonnes of food was donated to the local Trussell Trust food bank via the scheme, providing an estimated 7,000 meals. Unwanted clothes, books, and bric-a-brac were also donated to the British Heart Foundation (BHF) throughout the year via the collection banks situated around campus. Since 2013 the University has donated over £50,000 worth of clothing and household items to the BHF, and in 2017 alone £10,000 worth of donations were made to the charity, diverting over eight tonnes of waste.

Students at Keele are also able to donate kitchen and household equipment in each halls of residence social space, and these items are then sold on to incoming students by student volunteers in Welcome Week. The money raised goes to Think:Green, a student-led service at Keele that promotes and provides a platform for students to engage with the issues surrounding sustainability and reducing the University’s environmental impact.

Huw Evans, Environmental Manager at Keele University, commented:

“The scheme meets the University’s sustainability goals, including the aim ‘to promote environmental sustainability in all that we do’. The donation scheme was implemented to avoid the unnecessary disposal of reusable items at the end of the academic year. The University also operates a reuse scheme with our partners ‘Warp It’, which encourages staff to donate reusable surplus furniture and office consumable items to other parts of the University to avoid disposal and needlessly buying new items.

“So far, this scheme has successfully diverted over two tonnes of surplus items from waste disposal, and saved four tonnes of carbon dioxide.”

The University has also been shortlisted for other Green Gown Awards this year including ‘Sustainability Institution of the Year’ and ‘Outstanding Leadership Team of the Year’. Winners will be announced at a ceremony in York on Thursday 8th November.

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