We are pleased to welcome the Sustainable Development Team at Nottingham Trent University for a case study looking at how they have been adapting to their new Warp It system.
Since the autumn of 2018, they have been embedding Warp It, experiencing wonderful early successes and earning many new members.
Why did NTU get Warp It in the first place?
Originally, they had no formal process for reusing furniture. The Minor Works team in Estates had an informal system for items that were likely to be reused, where they would be placed in storage until the opportunity to reuse them arose. The Sustainable Development team assisted with donating items to charity on an ad hoc basis, but this was very time intensive because of the emails going back and forth.
They also received some complaints about items going to waste, both for financial and environmental reasons. Looking into the figures, they discovered that they were disposing of around 80 reusable items per month, at the same time buying lots of new furniture for the university. They recognised that they needed a joined-up approach between all of the departments in order to make reuse happen.
Has their journey been a smooth one?
Since the start of their Warp It journey, reuse has been very positive. They’ve been on the system about 8 months now, and are still having almost-daily signups, mainly through word of mouth, and also by directing people onto the system. As they didn’t have a formal reuse process before, they are now trying to direct those who are trying to dispose of or procure new assets towards the Warp It system instead.
What challenges have they faced and overcome?
One of the main challenges for the Sustainable Development Team at NTU was trying to get the key stakeholders involved and fully on board.
When they launched, a presentation was held for the Procurement department on the benefits of and how to use Warp It. Now, if someone is wanting to purchase an item, the Purchase Agents will redirect them to Warp It. They’ve also done some internal email communications to all staff, as well as other emails only to certain departments, raising the topic of reuse in newsletters and meetings.
They are still receiving almost daily registrations to Warp It, so this process is working across all departments on their campuses. Another thing they’ve been doing is getting a monthly report from the Estates Helpdesk, listing furniture disposal requests. If there are particular areas or departments making requests, they focus the next month's communications on that area. See here.
They don't have much storage at NTU, aside from the occasional room that’s already full of furniture. One of the first things they did was to catalogue and list all of the surplus assets that they had available and make them ready for claiming when Warp It launched.
As they do not have storage, they really push their users to list items before they are available, so that they do not require some form of storage between ownership. The Sustainable Development team informed us that a few people raised the lack of storage as a concern at the start, but once they started using the system they saw the logic of listing items early instead.
What are the best learnings from NTU?
We can see that they made a big effort to communicate and educate their key stakeholders prior to launching, to discuss, understand, and illustrate ways to overcome some of the perceived barriers to reuse. By getting key stakeholders to engage with the system prior to launching, they can use these same people as early members and potential evangelists.
An amazing tip that came from NTU was the idea to find out who is making disposal requests and work with them. We turned that tip into a full guide here.
What is next for NTU’s reuse project?
They’ve just started partnering with local charities, schools, and organisations on Warp It and have made their first donation of 50 chairs to a local scout group. They are promoting to staff members who are involved with charities and schools to sign them up on Warp It.
Thank you Sustainable Development Team!