#LeaveLeedsTidy 2019 Results in 17.5 Tonnes of Items Donated

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#LeaveLeedsTidy, the donation scheme run by Leeds University Union (LUU) along with groups like Rainbow Junktion and Zero Waste Leeds, has resulted in 17.5 tonnes of items to be recycled and upcycled. 

The scheme is intended to reduce waste during the student moving period from the end of June to the beginning of July and the BBC estimated that since it started, the total value of items donated to the scheme is £250,000

The items donated at various drop-off points in Leeds included clothing, sofas, electrical appliances such as kettles and microwaves, and other household items that would have typically have been thrown away. 

These items have now either been donated to the British Heart Foundation or given to different local communities across Leeds through free shops. Anything that is left at the end of the week will be donated to BHF.

This year’s Community Officer Cat Fairbairn said in a statement:

‘I’m amazed at the selflessness and community spirit that I have seen on a daily basis, the same spirit which has driven the Leave Leeds Tidy project and empowered those facilitating it. This year over 17.5 of donations have been collected from students which otherwise would most likely have ended up in landfill.

Despite an often negative reputation surrounding moving days it is so refreshing to see the mass positive impact that Leeds students can have in our contribution to our local areas through ensuring nothing worth using gets thrown away, and I am proud to represent such a motivated student body’

Running for the past 11 years, it has diverted more than 150 tonnes according to project co-ordinator Ryan Frankland. This would have otherwise either gone to landfill, left significant mess in Hyde Park and encouraged pests like rats. 

Speaking to the BBC, Abdul Hannan who works at LUU, said “it’s about students given back to the community”. Brand new society Leeds Heart Beats also helped out with the scheme this year by partially staffing collections or getting local British Heart Foundation (BHF) groups to help as well as organising vans with LUU to pick donations up.

Approximately 3.5 tonnes of donations were given to BHF as well as leftover donations after the free shops. President of Leeds Heart Beats, Claire Ozber told The Gryphon:

“We are actually really pleased with how it’s gone this year – with it being the first year we’ve done this partnership and our first year as a society.

For next year, it’d be really great if we could get more people involved – more volunteers to help us advertise through door knocking and flyering as well as more people involved in running the collection points as we could run even more

We also need to work on getting landlords and letting agents better involved with changeover, driving better waste disposal, and even more donations

Last year, it was estimated thirteen tonnes of items were collected. This year eight tonnes were reportedly collected from Hyde Park Picture House on just one day alone.

Image Credit: George Bissett, Facebook.

Despite the success of the scheme, many bins in Hyde Park were still full of waste with mattresses, kitchenware and objects that could have been donated lining streets. Some students took to social media as well to criticise students who threw away objects instead of donating. 

Nevertheless, certain streets in Hyde Park, Burley and Woodhouse showed significant improvement from previous years and the success of this year’s scheme seems likely raise student awareness further in 2020.

Main Image Credit: Hyde Park Picture House, Twitter.