‘Waste not!’ Students raise 1.5 million for charity and help aid waste reduction


By Louis Chandor, News Reporter

A student-led charity campaign has raised nearly £1.5 million over the course of nine years. The ongoing effort seeks to reduce student waste and donate the proceeds.

Students from the University of Bristol and the University of the West of England have combined forces with the Bristol City Council and the Bristol Waste Company to help raise money for charity, while simultaneously reducing waste.

The operation, known as the Bristol Big Give, has been conducted by volunteers collecting unwanted products from students when they move out from their accommodation. This second-hand ‘gold mine’ is collected by the Bristol Big Give organisation and donated to the British Heart Foundation (BHF) and local charities.

University of Bristol student interns Jaz Fryer-Jones (left) and Sophie Henley (right) promoting the Bristol Big Give outside a University accommodation | University of Bristol

Over the past nine academic years, almost 100,000 donations have been collected from students. This has amounted to more than 900 tonnes of goods, an average of 100 tonnes annually. The total worth to date is £1,357,846.

The Bristol Big Give targets around 40,000 students per year, working with the BHF to set up various donation points across residential areas and university campuses. These donations are then collected and sold through British Heart Foundation shops.

Sophie Henley, a University of Bristol student interning with the sustainability team, said: ‘Helping to lead the Bristol Big Give this year has been really inspiring.

‘It’s great to see how many students are keen to get involved by donating their unwanted items - doing what's best for the environment and raising money for an amazing cause!’

The £1.5 million raised has helped the BHF to fund their research into cardiovascular disease. The organisation currently funds over 1,000 projects, helping the 7.6 million people in the UK living with a heart or circulatory disease.

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Dr Erik Lithander, the University of Bristol’s Pro Vice-Chancellor for Global Engagement, said: ‘The Bristol Big Give is a great example of the whole city pulling in one direction – cutting waste and benefitting dozens of charities, not least the British Heart Foundation.

‘We know our students are always looking for ways to help out - last year 10,000 University of Bristol students did some kind of voluntary work.’

Featured Image: University of Bristol

Do you have any second-hand ‘nuggets of gold’ that you could donate? For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/BristolBigGive/