Excellence in Waste Reduction - Office Supplies Exchange
In the early months of 2019, the Office Supply Exchange was launched, utilizing the Green Office network and the existing infrastructure of campus mail to collect and recirculate office supplies across the university. The model is simple: send surplus, unused office supplies to a central location via campus mail. Request office supplies from this stash and receive it through campus mail.
However, the success implementation of the program is 100% thanks to the personal passion and professional approach that champion and program coordinator Laurie Brady has applied to its roll out and continued operation. From the start, Laurie approached the problem as an opportunity to save the university money while reducing waste and keeping materials from the landfill. She developed a system for organizing the materials and tracking the inventory to keep its operations efficient.
When the university launched an online platform for redistributing any type of surplus property, Laurie became an early adopter. People from across the university can now easily search for the office supplies they need to see if they can get something for free before buying it elsewhere.
By partnering across the university to promote the program and connecting with those in search of office supplies, Laurie has developed relationships and supported collaboration in an otherwise decentralized environment. In the past year, Laurie has recirculated 3,700 items through the office supplies exchange, recapturing about $5,600 worth of office supplies for WashU.
Whenever the Office Supply Exchange becomes overwhelmed with materials, Laurie reaches out to non-profits and schools to donate supplies. In one example, Laurie connected with a local school the university has an established relationship with and discovered they had a need for binders and notebooks. The school requested all the binders we could provide. Approximately 500 binders and 500 notebooks were donated to the school.
Through the Office Supply Exchange, Laurie Brady has found a creative way to connect her personal passion for sustainability and waste prevention to her work at Campus Mail, in service of the university’s goals to save money and prevent waste.