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RAWKUS are a group formed of volunteers who are working with the Student Union, Warwick Accommodation, Warwick Estates and Warwick Volunteers to tackle wastage issues.

Collecting unwanted items during Covid-19

Key workers from the Waste and Recycling team, Cleaning Services and Emmaus charity worked throughout the lockdown to separate, collect, and donate thousands of pots, pans, clothes, stationery and electrical items left behind in University bedrooms and kitchens. Non-perishable food was also removed and donated to Coventry food banks, while bed linen was given to another local charity.

Thanks to their amazing combined efforts, close to a hundred tonnes of waste was saved. The partnership with Emmaus meant the charity could take surplus items in good condition – reducing unnecessary waste and helping Warwick to support local people in need.

Mathilde Robert, Waste Services Manager at the University, talks of the circular economy and waste hierarchy that informed this project:

"As part of the Waste and Resource Strategy, we want to reduce waste, reuse items and develop circular economy. Working with Emmaus is giving items a second life and people a second chance in life."

Pay as you feel market

As part of the partnership with Emmaus; RAWKUS, the Waste and Recycling team, Welcome team and Sustainability team organised the second annual Pay as You Feel market, which ran during the Arrivals period, when students moved into their accommodation for the new academic year. Second-hand items, including some of those collected at the end of the previous term, were made available, with patrons encouraged to make a donation.

500 people visited over five days to pick up kitchen and bedroom essentials for their new homes, raising a over £1,800 for Emmaus. The items that didn't sell during the event have been donated to be sold at their shop in Coventry.