By Poppy Askham
The Green Move Out scheme returns to Durham this summer, encouraging students to make sustainable decisions as they reach the end of the academic year and their tenancy agreements.
The project has expanded its reach this year thanks to a partnership between student volunteers, local charities, Durham County Council, and the University.
More student properties will be encouraged to “leave Durham tidy” this year with the support of extra student volunteers and community wardens.
These volunteers, alongside representatives for County Durham Furniture Help Scheme (CDFHS), are currently distributing the project’s signature purple plastic bags to students living in College and private housing across the city.
Once filled with unwanted clothing, bedding, electrical items, kitchen equipment, books, and non-perishable food, purple bags will be collected from College bedrooms, College collection points, and from outside student houses. Collection will take place on weekdays from June 21st until the start of August.
Donations and resale funds will go towards local charities including CDFHS, the Salvation Army, A Way Out, and the East Durham Trust. The scheme aims to simultaneously aid County Durham communities and foster an environmentally-friendly ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ ethos.
The project, which started 17 years ago in Collingwood College, has now expanded to a city-wide movement. Since its 2005 launch, 198 tonnes of student belongings have been collected, including 1600 bags of donations last year despite Covid-related difficulties.
Jeremy Cook, University Pro Vice Chancellor (Colleges and Student Experience) said: “I’m so proud of everyone involved in the Green Move Out scheme and how we have developed it into the operation it is today. Building and growing good relations between the University and the community in which we live and work is extremely important to us, as is the highly-valued partnership with Durham County Council.
“The scheme is packed full of benefits: it’s environmentally responsible; it lets students ‘trade’ many otherwise-unwanted items thus sparing themselves expense; it raises money for local good causes; and it’s a practical expression of good-neighborliness, helping to build and grow.”
Durham County Council staff members will be aiding this year’s initiative by knocking on doors in student-dominated areas to provide advice and raise awareness. The Council has placed additional focus on Covid-safety measures, including ensuring that staff involved in the initiative engage in regular lateral flow testing.
Alan Patrickson, the County Council’s corporate director for neighbourhoods and climate change, commented: “We are delighted to once again support the Green Move Out and offer advice and support to students who will be moving out of their accommodation and want to do this in a less impactful way.
“Recycling or donating gives unwanted items a chance for a second life rather than being disposed of as waste. This not only helps to protect our environment by reducing the amount of usable items being disposed of, but also supports local charities and helps build an environmentally positive ethos within the university and wider Durham community.”
CDFHS’s Chief Executive Officer, Steven Mitton also celebrated the scheme’s return this summer, saying: “County Durham Furniture Help Scheme are delighted to take part again in this year’s Green Move Out. We also note a larger student support than previous years and that a change in our service enables us directly support those most in need across the county.”
Image: Durham University