Green Gown Awards 2017 - SHRUB Co-op Edinburgh and The University of Edinburgh - Finalist

Tags: Enterprise and Entrepreneurship | Green Gown Awards 2017 Finalist

Edinburgh’s Swap and Reuse Hub (SHRUB) Co-operative

Edinburgh’s Swap and Reuse Hub "SHRUB" Co-operative is the UK's first student-led registered co-operative – a community-based social enterprise addressing issues of sustainability in the local community. We promote Reuse and the Circular Economy as alternatives to a 'take-make-waste' culture.

Beginning in 2008 as a summer project led by University of Edinburgh students, we have become central Edinburgh's Hub for Reuse. In eight years, we have diverted 63 tonnes of stuff from landfill, saved 1,500 tCO2e, run over 1,000 workshops with thousands of students and community participants and saved £35,000+ in disposal costs. The Co-op provides work based placements – learning skills of organising a small business run co-operatively. Participants all report huge co-curricular benefits.  

Like a rolling stone gathering moss our enthusiasm garnered over £630,000 support from the following: £3,000 Innovation Initiative Grant 2010, £2,500 CEC Waste Action grant 2011, £4,500 Neighbourhood Partnership grant 2012, £88,000 Scottish Government Climate Challenge Fund 2015, £90,000 CCF 2016, £25,000 “Zero Waste Town” Feasibility Study 2017, £110,000 CCF 2017, £300,000 Zero Waste Scotland “Zero Waste Town” funding August 2017.

Top 3 learnings:

1 Student-led independent projects in the community lead to co-curricular benefits.

2 Using the University neighbourhood as a Living Laboratory brings rich rewards.

3 Never underestimate the passion for students co-operating to create a better world.

1,500 tCO2e savings over the life cycle of the project (Actual over eight years)