For many years, at the end of the summer term, the University of Warwick would welcome local community volunteers onto campus to help the collect food surplus and other items that were no longer needed from campus accommodation.

This year, the challenges of COVID-19 meant they had to adapt their usual approach to ensure surplus items did not go to waste. Emmaus Coventry & Warwickshire stepped up to help, working with university staff to collect unwanted student possessions – many then resold in our Red Lane charity shop.

In total, the University was to donate 100m³ of products – more than double the size of donations from previous years.

Key workers from the university’s Waste and Recycling team, Cleaning Services and our charity worked throughout the lockdown to separate, collect, and donate thousands of pots, pans, clothes, stationery and electrical items left behind in bedrooms and kitchens. Non-perishable food was also removed and donated to Coventry food banks, while bed linen has been given to another local charity.

Thanks to everyone’s amazing combined efforts, hundreds of tonnes of waste has been saved.

Mathilde Robert, Waste Services Manager at the University, talks of the circular economy and waste hierarchy that informed this project:
“As part of the Waste and Resource Strategy, we want to reduce waste, reuse items and develop circular economy. Working with Emmaus is giving items a second life and people a second chance in life.”