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The University’s WarpIt portal has been the hub for re-use of items within the University since 2014, helping save £340,000 in that time! Usage of the portal has been steadily increasing over time, and re-use activity is quickly picking up post-lockdown, so to support you in making easy resource savings for you and your colleagues, a number of improvements to the WarpIt portal have just been brought in – read on to find out more...

5 WarpIt features to make resource sharing even easier!

1. Donate to charities and 3rd parties

In 2018, the University’s WarpIt portal was expanded to allow donations to charity, meaning that any items not claimed internally by University staff are offered up to local organisations in the final 5 days before the expiry date of their posting. This month, this has been expanded, as the University now allows claims from any organisation using WarpIt, rather than just a small group of approved local charities.

TOP TIP: If you don’t want an item to be offered up externally, you can simply tick the ‘Is this item for internal only?’ box when adding a new item.

2. Create wish lists

The nature of WarpIt means there might not always be an item you need posted on the site. If you've searched for an item and it's not available right now, simply add it to your 'wish list'. When you do this, you'll be notified if anybody ever adds that item, and you can then be first to claim it. You can add items to your wish list by visiting the ‘Wish Lists’ option after logging in. When you add a wish list item, other members are also notified of your needs, meaning they might be prompted to dig out an unwanted item from their stock cupboard to list on WarpIt just for you...

Read more about this feature on the WarpIt wish lists guide.

3. Add items in bulk 

If your department is having a big clear out, it’s a prime time to be using WarpIt, as you can save on disposal costs and clutter by finding others in the University who might need your surplus items. However if your clear-out generates a lot of items, particularly similar types of item like furniture, the ‘bulk uploads’ function can help you add these items quickly and easily using just a few details. You can even download a ‘bulk upload form’ which can help you to quickly categorise common items during a walk-round of a room or area that’s due to be cleared out.

Read more about htis feature on the WarpIt bulk upload guide.

4. Give to a known contact

During big clear-outs, it might be that someone has their eye on a particular item and asks to have it. You can still post it on WarpIt, but if there’s more than one item and your contact only wants some of them, a useful feature is the ‘allocate internal’ feature. After adding the details of an item, you can allocate a certain quantity to a particular person registered on the WarpIt portal using the ‘Allocate Internal’ options found after the ‘Add Item’ button. The search function allows you to find a certain individual registered with the University's WarpIt.

TOP TIP: Allocating items is totally optional, but if you are giving an item to another individual within the University, using this means the transaction is recorded, and you’re covered by the formal processes and terms set out by WarpIt.

5. Extend your post

If an item hasn't been claimed, but you are still keen for it to be claimed internally, you can log into WarpIt and locate the item you posted (in 'Active Items' or 'Expired Items') and easily update the 'Advertise Until' date to give a little more time for it to be claimed. In general, the longer you can advertise an item, the better - so if you're planning a large clear-out it's important to think about WarpIt as early in the process as possible!

TOP TIP: When planning a clear-out or refurbishment, we recommend an quick stock-take of items as soon as possible in the planning. A recent large refurbishment project in the University saved £17,000 thanks to an early inventory and sharing all items on WarpIt!

Why start using WarpIt now?

After a record year of resource saving and waste prevention in 2019, which saw the University’s total savings break the £250,000 mark, lockdown led to a big drop in activity, with many buildings shut down and spare equipment and furniture being taken home by staff in need of kit for home working. However as restrictons have eased and the University estate has mostly returned to normal operations, there’s been a big spike in use of WarpIt, as seen by these charts. The more staff that join (and use) WarpIt, the more success we will have!

What can WarpIt be used for?

At the time of writing, there’s everything from scientific equipment and lab disposables to desks, chairs and reception furniture available on WarpIt. But we’re not just limited to this - any resource can be reused. As long as it’s safe and legal to share, it can be transferred. At the moment, WarpIt can only be used to share University-owned items within the University, or to WarpIt partners, however in the future we hope to add functionality for individuals to claim surplus items to take home.

How do I register?

Make sure you register an account so that you can keep an eye out for useful items – and share anything that might be surplus from your office, workshop, lab or project!

Written by Peter Lumb