Keith Masson of The Highland Council, Climate Change Policy Team describes how being part of WARP can make better use of resources and save money.
Every day, across the country, office furniture and other resources are unnecessarily piled into skips. This has many undesirable consequences including increased costs in respect of waste disposal, procurement of new equipment, increased carbon emissions and, of course, unnecessary depletion of resources in producing the replacement equipment.
However, this needn’t be the case. WARPit (the Waste Re-use Action Portal) is an easy to use online portal, which provides a platform for organisations to redistribute their resources legally and conveniently, internally and beyond.
The system operates in a similar way to eBay, or a corporate Freecycle. It allows organisations to upload unused or unnecessary resources to an online platform, which can then be claimed by someone who needs those items.
Practically anything can be uploaded and claimed, from simple ring binders through to office chairs, desks, printers, toner etc. Even complex kit, such as laboratory lasers, have been claimed through the portal.
Every organisation which signs up to WARPit is set up with its own customisable portal, and access can be provided to all staff or limited to just a few. It is particularly powerful, however, when opened up to staff as well as partner organisations – this allows the reciprocal sharing of surplus resources locally, keeping even more out of landfill and further reducing costs.
The process of uploading and claiming items has been made as simple as possible. When staff need to dispose of furniture or other resources, they simply list their item(s) on the portal, including a description, photos and a deadline for collection. Typically, items are claimed within a few days, but those which do not receive any interest can either be re-listed or catalogued and put into storage. Unlike eBay, collection of claimed items is the responsibility of the new owner.
The Highland Council hopes to have its own WARPit portal in place early in 2015. Other local authorities already using the portal have quickly realised substantial savings; for example, Dundee City Council saved nearly £67k in its first year using WARPit, while avoiding 16 tonnes of waste and 67 tonnes of CO2 emissions.
The portal is free for 3rd sector organisations. For more information about WARPit, visit www.warp-it.co.uk.