The University of Edinburgh

Highly Commended

IT Reuse: Circular economy in action

The University of Edinburgh’s IT Reuse Project has repurposed 5,300 computers and over 5,000 peripheral items such as keyboards, mice and monitors since 2015. As part of the University’s commitment to reduce consumption and waste, the project is one way it is working to create a circular economy, the sustainable reuse of resources within its own practices, avoiding 32 tonnes of electronic waste, generating cash savings of over half a million pounds and 800 tonnes of CO2e.

The University has further developed the community outreach and impact of the project by donating computers between five and eight years old to the Edinburgh Remakery, an environmental social enterprise committed to diverting waste from landfill and promoting a culture of repair and reuse.

The University has also donated computers to local schools and community groups, who distribute to local families, addressing digital isolation and access to online learning.

Annual carbon savings achieved with the initiative:

What the Judges Thought

The judges found this to be a very worthwhile piece of work, and commended the efforts to serve the local community by reducing digital poverty, something that the judges felt was really important and had a really strong societal impact.  This felt to be a particularly good example of a digital project that could have significance for the sector and beyond.

What it Means to Win

“Our mission is to deliver positive impact for society, by discovering, developing and sharing knowledge. The University is committed to supporting a lower-carbon, healthier, more sustainable and equitable future. The Green Gown Awards provide an opportunity to recognise the efforts of our staff and students to help us achieve this.”

Professor Peter Mathieson, Principal and Vice-Chancellor

Top 3 Learnings

  1. IT reuse can lead to multiple other benefits including tackling digital isolation in local communities.
  2. There are significant partnership opportunities with local organisations to expand IT distribution efforts.
  3. The repurposing of IT equipment can influence and embed sustainability into new IT procurement practices.
4 - Quality Education 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production 17 - Partnerships for the Goals

Digital Futures

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