Old Office Equipment Finds New Uses in London

London businesses hoping to fit their offices with new equipment need look no further than Ourgreendistrict for their needs. Ourgreendistrict was the brainchild of local law firm Olswang LLP, developed in partnership with inmidtown. Their aim was to foster closer ties and create a platform where local business communities could become greener and save money.

Ourgreendistrict is modeled on Freecycle but focuses mostly on office equipment. It enables businesses and their employees to post any unwanted office equipment or items from home. These include things like furniture and computers, books and office materials. These are then cataloged on their online community for reuse among the local business community.

Any businesses in the district, from shops and restaurants to more substantial office buildings, can sign up, search the database for what they require and arrange collection at a convenient time. The network is designed to save local businesses tens of thousands of pounds over the next five years in procurement costs and waste disposal costs. The current target market is about 560 companies in the capital’s Holborn, Bloomsbury and St Giles areas currently.

OurGreenDistrict also goes some way towards inmidtown’s pledge to send no waste to landfill from the area by 2015. London mayor Boris Johnson has committed the capital to achieving the same goal by 2025, and has lent his support to the idea. “This scheme is a triumph for common sense, providing a great way for businesses to reuse perfectly good furniture and equipment which have plenty of life left in them,” Johnson said. “This will not only save businesses money, but help them do their bit to reduce the mountain of rubbish being sent unnecessarily to landfill.”

Office equipment is a huge hole-burner in the budget of any business. This is especially true in the case of a start-up or small business. It is also true that several businesses have closed offices due to the recession or are down-sizing thereby disposing many supplies. It is the right time to start a scheme based on ‘trading’ of office supplies. The site also aims to have a business directory to promote local procurement and allow companies to show what they have done to help the environment and share tips and ideas.

This is an excellent example of local community engagement as well as an option for businesses to network while procuring office equipment. More businesses using the primary principles of sustainability needs to be encouraged. Chief among these are innovative business models for reducing wastes and reusing products that could potentially be land-filled.

Akhila is the Founding Director of GreenDen Consultancy which is dedicated to offering business analysis, reporting and marketing solutions powered by sustainability and social responsibility. Based in the US, Europe, and India, the GreenDen's consultants share the best practices and innovation from around the globe to achieve real results. She has previously written about CSR and ethical consumption for Justmeans and hopes to put a fresh spin on things for this column. As an IEMA certified CSR practitioner, she hopes to highlight a new way of doing business. She believes that consumers have the immense power to change 'business as usual' through their choices. She is a Graduate in Molecular Biology from the University of Glasgow, UK and in Environmental Management and Law. In her free-time she is a voracious reader and enjoys photography, yoga, travelling and the great outdoors. She can be contacted via Twitter @aksvi and also http://www.thegreenden.net

Leave a Reply