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Ideas For Success: The Glasgow Asset Share Group

Warp It welcome Selina Woolcott from the University of Glasgow as she talks about the Glasgow Asset Share Group.

We opened up the floor to Selina and let her speak freely about her experience of using Warp It. It’s really interesting what she had to say. You can consider this an opinion piece from an expert Warp It member!


You’re going to read about

  • The concept of Warp It and how it functions in a surplus asset management /  share economy in a city community
  • How even lawyers accepted Warp It as a good idea!
  • How local social enterprise groups provide unsuspecting solutions
  • How Warp It is used as an asset management system or asset management software
  • So much more!


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Savings made in 32 months since joining Warp-it.  

For more up to date metrics please see here.




The idea explained

It must be about four years ago now, my former environmental advisor approached me and said she'd come across this wonderful idea. There was this portal by which we could share items across the university to reduce unnecessary procurement and waste. The way it works is that any member of staff can apply for their own log in. They can upload work items that they're no longer using, whether that is equipment, whether it's furniture or some other items. Once that's loaded up with its photograph and details, then somebody else can go on and have a look to see if it is something that they're searching for. If it's quite a big piece of furniture, we can then arrange transport from one place to another.

If the item, once it's on the system, doesn't move for a few weeks, then we can instead arrange to get it uplifted and taken to our own furniture store. Introducing Warp It gave us the motivation to have a really good clear-out. Very little ended up in a landfill. The vast majority of it was actually reused or gifted to charities.

Strength in numbers

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.

Networks and word of mouth

We have, certainly within Higher Education, existing networks both of environmental advisers and safety practitioners. Those networks were really good for making those initial inquiries about who else was already looking at Warp It, or might be interested in looking at it so that we could really start looking at a much broader picture across a much bigger patch of public sector and big organizations that all have the same sort of logistical challenges, and acquire often very similar types of furniture and equipment that they're trying to move around. It made an awful lot of sense and it's actually been remarkably easy because people are really enthusiastic and positive about it. We've also been able to demonstrate really good business advantages and savings through using the system which has made a much easier sell to our respective organizations.


Not all plain sailing

There are two main challenges. One is logistical and that's related to transporting items from one place to another. You need to make it as cost-effective as possible or else what you're realistically doing sometimes is asking somebody to pay a price for a piece of second-hand equipment that is not far off what they might pay for a new piece of equipment. We had to find a way of bringing down our transport costs. We came across a social enterprise agency called DNDP, Delivered Next Day Personally. They were able to offer us a flat rate of £5 per item, so we make sure that we're filling the vehicles up rather than coming to move just one piece of item. The other advantage of using DNDP is the fact that they provide opportunities for people with disabilities to enter into sustainable employment, and that fits really well certainly with our corporate social responsibility strand. That chimed really favorably with most of the other organizations as well.

A perceived issue?

The other one wasn't so much logistical. First, it was around perceived risk and quite a few of our solicitors were nervous about us. In the first instance, when we were first looking at sharing items out with our own organizations, they were quite nervous about what the liabilities would be. We spent quite a lot of time working with our respective legal advisors around putting in place the right documentation to make sure we were keeping ourselves right. We were letting people know that they would still be responsible for making sure it was safe when it was put into use.

Final say

Really, I'm just really excited now to see how the wider partnership, how the guest partnership kicks off. It's just really exciting to see those new opportunities to share and save on a wider basis. It's all good.

You can view the University of Glasgow Warp It business case here.

Wow! What an incredible insight from Selina, who has been a key member in collectivising a group of large and small organisations across a massive city into one of the UK’s largest reuse groups. Kudos!


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Daniel O'Connor

Daniel O'Connor

I use my time and experience to contribute to the transition to a regenerative sustainable society for all.


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