Benefits of Warp It to Municipal Councils
Councils up and down the UK are reaping the rewards from a partnership with Warp It. We’ve allowed them to:
- expand the reuse of their assets
- trade surplus assets with other agencies in the city and region
- track all of the financial and carbon data along the way
These make compelling cases for why sustainability and better environmental practice should be taken more seriously.
In this signpost article, you will read an overview of all of the articles that we feel are most applicable to those working in a council environment. To read these articles, click the article title to open them in a new tab.
You will read about many different stories, from various different sources, all of which highlight the main benefits of Warp It:
- Reduction in the incidence of visible reusable assets in skips and bins- which is a reputation risk
- The liberation of space, as unwanted assets are cleared.
- A reduction in the reliance on storage and better movement of assets around the estate. More info here.
- Save time and increase departmental collaboration: Create a central visible inventory of your current and future surplus items. This will save money and time as staff can check what is available online without sending hundreds of emails or having to visit a store area.
- Sustainable building clearance: Manage building / room clearances better by pre-loading assets before the move. Staff can then see what is available in the future, helping to plan procurement needs, see which assets will be transferred to their new owners on the clearance date, and waste cost reduction.
- Save time and reduce reliance on store areas: Reduce double handling by matching donors to recipients in real time or in the future. This prevents double handling (moving the item from A to B rather than into a store area, or worse a skip/dumpster).
- Save money: Reduction in procurement and waste costs as well as admin. All results are compared on our league system.
We spoke with Edinburgh City Council’s Mollie Kerr, who has been using and championing the Warp It system. They managed to avoid over £300k in costs when decommissioning a school, by redistributing their assets into the local area. It took strong leadership, great collaboration and prioritising reuse over recycling. This fascinating and in depth article explains how Warp It solved a huge headache for them:
"Any time the accommodation planning team decommissioned a building, they used a spreadsheet. But only on big projects that happened, it was never on anything else, nothing smaller. This new way (Warp It) was much better, as all the staff could access the information online and see the items on a marketplace. This saved time and reduced our manual input by emails and visits. School business managers were on board."
"All available items were part of the initial inventory of the school. This allowed us to advertise all items with photos and description to the whole school network. We arranged for a company to do all the deliveries as part of the school decommissioning."
"We worked with some of the school staff to understand which schools were more in need of new tech, for example, if they had broken kit, and it needed replacing. We had three charities take items too."
In this blog post we explain exactly how reuse, and the development of a reuse programme, can reduce procurement demand in the procurement department. This in turn gives staff and colleagues in the procurement department an opportunity to reduce their workload on administrative tasks and focus on more meaningful jobs.
In just six weeks, Northumberland County Council reduced their procurement spend by £68,000. Case study here. They analysed furniture spend before Warp It, and they analysed furniture spend after Warp It. Warp It provided their staff with the option that instead of buying something new, they could do an online search and find the item available second-hand within their own organisation.
This concept goes beyond a council, university or NHS trust, it involves everyone, including charities, small businesses and individuals. We’re so proud to have been a part of GAS, which has seen dozens of Glaswegian professionals come together to make sure that reuse is a huge part of the success of their city.
We spoke to Selina Woolcott, one of the brains behind GAS: "The success of the system here at Glasgow, and at some other institutions that were either interested in it or had maybe started using it, has been that we saw the benefits of actually entering into a wider partnership, so that if we had items that weren't shifting within our own organization, it would be possible to see if somebody else could use them. We've developed a partnership called the Glasgow Asset Sharing or GAS group. It comprises all Higher Education institutions along with Glasgow City Council and our local NHS board, which is NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, as well as Glasgow Social Enterprise Network. The way we went about that is we managed to secure funding from an organization called Zero Waste Scotland, to develop some property which was already owned by the council, to create a warehousing facility so that we have somewhere central where we could bring items between places."
In a city where over 450 partners have signed up to Warp It, it's no surprise that the vision to create a better future for the city's inhabitants is coming true. With more than half a million pounds saved, thousands of tonnes of waste avoided and over 100 jobs secured thanks to the savings, we are both proud and impressed with the work going on there.
Jessica May, Partnership Manager told us: "The impact of this scheme has been local, regional and national. Over 450 partners have been able to work together, building relationships and contacts that would not have normally occurred. The message is still being spread locally and the third sector continues to enthusiastically take up support of the free tool. The Warp it scheme has been a significant success in Sunderland and has progressed well beyond our expectations. It is a fantastic example of partnership working between the public, private and third sector. Warp it reflects a core aim of the City’s partners, that is to work together to achieve something much bigger than any individual organisation ever could achieve on their own. I am convinced given its success locally that this new model of collaborative consumption will be the first of many such projects as we move to a more digitally enabled way of working in Sunderland."
In 2010, Sunderland City Council underwent a restructure that led to the closure of buildings across the city. As offices were vacated, large quantities of office-related resources like furniture, equipment and supplies became redundant. Rather than send these to landfill, the council signed up to the Warp It reuse scheme. In just nine months, the new scheme resulted in over £45,000 of cost savings. Since then, we've seen hundreds of thousands of pounds in savings, over 1,000 staff on their system and a dedicated internal Warp It Officer!
Dianne Pattison, Sunderland City Council Policy Officer, told us: "In 2010, the restructure went council-wide and, as a result, a number of sections were moved around or disbanded. We had a lot of buildings that were no longer needed and when I went out on a site visit I found stacks of furniture – tables, chairs and all kinds of other items. It was all due to go for disposal into a skip, even though a lot of the items were brand new."
Horsham District Council’s Commissioning and Performance and Sustainability teams won the Sustainability/Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative of the Year Award at the National Government Opportunities (GO) Excellence in Public Procurement Awards 2016/17. The team won for their innovative commissioning approach to the sustainable disposal of surplus office equipment when the council moved from its old premises to a new shared office space with West Sussex County Council in 2015. Using Warp It, the commissioning project succeeded in disposing of a large amount of unwanted office contents without it having to go to landfill, greatly minimising the cost of disposal of the items.
What would have happened if you hadn’t got involved with the furniture and equipment, and managed to involve reuse and Warp It?
Helen Peacock from Horsham District Council told us: "What probably would have happened is we would have gone with a traditional office clearance company. I did talk to some of them because I needed, at the early stage, to be able to give cost comparisons. A lot of the larger companies do have a sustainability arm, where they say they will try and resell things. So, I'm sure it would have gone down that route, but I didn't feel particularly confident that the percentages that we were talking about were particularly large."
All of these councils have found numerous benefits from switching their reuse project over to Warp iT, especially in terms of saving money, demonstrating the effective and responsible use of surplus assets, and how to collaborate better internally as an organisation. There have been millions of pounds saved through the combined efforts of councils on our system, as well as an incredible amount of assets donated to the third sector (charities).