skip to content



An upcoming office move can be a stressful enough event. But when Theresa Daly, Office Manager for the Cambridge University Investment Office, and her colleagues were informed that the office space they were due to move into had fallen through at late notice, they were in a bind – not least as their existing building was due for demolition!

Unable to find a new home, they were fortunately offered some space for the medium term in a nearby office. However the new office were unable to take any of their furniture, and were unable to store it either. With nearly a tonne of furniture to contend with, there appeared to be limited options other than paying for a skip and sending it to landfill.

Fortunately, a chance conversation led to Chris Patten, a colleague in Greenwich House, suggesting ‘Warp-It’, the University's free internal re-use portal. Theresa had never heard of the portal before, so Chris enlisted his colleague Andrew King to help. Andrew leapt into action, photographing the items and posting them online. By the next morning, he was inundated with requests which he could forward onto Theresa to pick up and liaise with interested parties from around the University.

In total, 64 items were posted ranging from desks, chairs, coffee tables and sofas to dividing screens, fridges and fans. From the entire haul only 5 desks weren’t claimed, meaning that 850kg of waste was prevented. Meanwhile, other departments including Pharmacology, Physiology, Biochemistry, Architecture, UIS and CUDAR benefited from ‘new’ items to kit out their own offices, saving them purchase costs and the carbon emissions associated with producing and delivering new items.

It wasn’t all furniture and equipment though. Theresa was particularly pleased to find homes in the University for 6 plants which she had looked after for 10 years – in that time they’d become more like trees, so it was good to see them go to good homes!

One of the 'trees' saved from landfill, thanks to WarpIt

It’s estimated that the University spends over £1.4m on waste disposal every year, with furniture being a big contributor and one of the waste streams which is least likely to be recycled. Make sure you speak to your colleagues about WarpIt – it’s free for all University of Cambridge staff, easy to use and can be used for everything from stationary and office consumables to furniture and equipment. Why not help spread the word about WarpIt so that we can facilitate more re-use? You can download one of our WarpIt posters, or request hard copies of the posters or WarpIt 'business cards' from the Environment & Energy Section.