End of term – what happens to all our “stuff”?

What happens to all our _stuff__

You’ve finished your exams, packed your bags, donated your unwanted items, and you’re ready to leave St Andrews for the summer…but what happens to all the “stuff” students donate?

Household items

10575351_1461008610848687_8140496115457494931_oFrom pots and pans to coathangers, stationery, and a wide variety of miscellaneous household goods, St AndRe-Use volunteers collect all these items from hall donation points and from STANDEN’s private residence collections. After some intensive sorting sessions (see above!), the cutlery and crockery is washed in hall dishwashers, then everything is boxed up and stored for the rest of the summer. Once students return in September, the items are taken along to the Freshers’ Week Big Green Fair where the thousands of items are given away for free to be used and enjoyed by another cohort of students!

Clothes

donateditemsDonations of clothes and accessories are collected by Frontline Fife, a local charity that provides services to help alleviate the effects of homelessness. Donated items are either passed directly onto those in need, or used to stock their Kirkcaldy-based boutique, “Re-Love It”, which raises funds for their projects.

Food

food_drive_cans_002_-_webAll donations of unopened, non-perishable food, toiletries, and cleaning products are collected and taken to St Andrews’ food bank, Storehouse, where they will be used to help local families in need.

Books

tumblr_n9iy64AQPN1sdo33qo3_500Whether it’s a novel or a course textbook, all books dropped off at donation points are collected by Barnardo’s and taken to be re-sold in their shop on Bell Street, raising funds to help transform the lives of some of the UK’s most vulnerable children.

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Click here for more information on what to do with your end of term waste.

Waste Hierarchy – “The 6 R’s”

Everyone knows that it’s a good idea to recycle, but did you know that recycling actually falls quite far down on the order of preference for managing waste?

This order of preference is commonly known as the waste hierarchy, as shown in the diagram below. This diagram clearly shows the different options for waste management (“the 6 R’s”), with the most favourable option (refusing waste) located at the top of the triangle, and the least favourable option (rot – sending waste to landfill) at the bottom.

So how can the 6R’s help you reduce the environmental impact of your waste?

Waste Hierarchy

REFUSE to buy things you don’t need, and refuse to buy products that come overly packaged (like a box inside a box, wrapped in plastic, in a box…you know the sort!), or that you know will have limited lifespan.

REDUCE the amount of goods that you do need. The idea is to consume less, which results in less waste produced. Look out for multi-purpose products, and buy in bulk where possible e.g. buy larger sizes of toiletries, washing detergent, non-perishable food (pasta, rice, lentils), etc.

REUSE items you no longer need. Get creative and try to find alternative uses for your items, (inspiration available here and here) or donate them to a charity shop. For larger items, such as furniture, large electricals, and bikes, call the National Reuse Phoneline who will collect your items for free and give them a new lease of life.

RECYCLE items you cannot reuse. Look up your local council’s recycling guidance to make sure you are clued up on what you can and cannot recycle (Fife’s recycling information is available here) to make sure you are recycling as much as you can! Find your nearest recycling point, and use the banks of recycling bins located in all university buildings when out and about. Remember you can also recycle your glass, batteries, printer cartridges, and waste electricals, with more information available on our website.

RECOVER energy from your food waste if you don’t use it in a composter at home. By separating your food waste from the rest of your waste, it can be collected and anaerobically digested to produce biofuels and other useful products. Find out what happens to your food waste in Fife here.

ROT – the least favoured option. The waste you cannot reuse, recycle, or recover energy from will be sent to landfill or incinerated.

Follow the 6 R’s and see how empty you can make your landfill waste bin…and as an added bonus, by having less stuff in it you won’t have to empty it as often!

How to Cut Your Christmas Waste

blog graphicThe holiday season is time for celebration, but these days it is often also a time of excess, with more and more food, presents, and decorations being bought every year. It is estimated that each person throws away an extra 50kg of waste at Christmas time, so we’ve come up with some tips on how you can reduce this waste…

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Cards and wrapping paperknotwrap

After the festive season is over, be sure to recycle your cards and wrapping paper. Try to avoid foil wrapping paper as this is much harder to recycle, and look out for cards and wrap made from recycled paper or FSC certified materials.

Alternatively, package your presents in decorative, re-usable boxes, bags, or fabric wraps, like these ones from Lush.

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ElectricalsElectrical items_0

At this time of year, people often receive gifts of new models of items they already own, such as cameras, televisions, hairdryers, MP3 players, mobile phones, and other electrical goods. Recycle the replaced goods by selling them, donating them to charity, or taking them to your local recycling centre.

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Fairy lightsfairylights

Using LED lights to decorate your home will not only reduce your energy use by up to 90% compared to traditional lights, but also save you money on your utility bills. Remember to turn the lights off before going to bed to avoid wasting energy.

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Ribbons and bows original_red-merry-christmas-ribbon-10-m

Ribbons and bows are often in perfect condition after a gift has been unwrapped. Stop them from ending up in landfill by saving them to reuse next year.

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Foodrecipe-image-legacy-id--1176533_11

┬áThere will inevitably be lots of leftover food after you’ve enjoyed your Christmas dinner. Check out these recipes for tasty and imaginative ways to make the most of your leftovers, and reduce your food waste. Moroccan turkey salad or Christmas pudding trifle, anyone?

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Decorations354c9fbd6304803aecfc7963cb34b918

Christmas decorations can be very expensive, so why not see what you can make from what you already have? Check out this page for suggestions, or if you want more ideas, a quick search on Pinterest produces thousands of results for DIY decorations!

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For more tips on how to cut your Christmas waste, check out last year’s blog post, and our green gift guide.

Images: fabric wrap present, electricals, ribbon, fairy lights, Moroccan turkey salad, DIY decoration