We have a range of initiatives in place across the residences as part of our commitment to creating an environmentally friendly and sustainable living place for our students.


Community Fridge

The Community Fridge project launched in 2017 at the student residences, in collaboration with the Students’ Union, following a successful grant application from the Sainsbury’s Waste Less, Save More scheme to help combat food waste.  

Food that has reached its sell-by date but is still safe to consume would normally be thrown away, but the Community Fridges allow it to be rescued and offered completely free to staff, students and the community through the project. 

Through growth and developing new partnerships, the two Fridges receive more donations than ever, meaning more food is being diverted from waste streams and more people benefit from the resource.  

  • The Community Fridges averages 700* items per day
  • This equates to around 120kg of food items
  • For every 1kg of food rescued, an average of 4.32kg of CO2 is saved from the environment - meaning the Fridges save 3024kg of CO2 per day! 
  • If the average item costs £2, the Fridges rescue £1400 worth of food daily
A large fridge full of food and drink items with a large shelving unit next to it full of ambient goods

*figures are based on averages, collections vary each day.

Free Shop

The Free Shop is held every year during Intro Weekend in September and in February for Semester 2 arrivals, and forms part of our Donate, Don’t Waste initiative. Previous residents can donate some of their unwanted kitchen and homeware items at the end of their tenancy, which are then cleaned and stored ready to be given away at the Free Shop.

  • The first Free Shop launched in September 2013
  • Over 4,000 students have benefitted from the scheme
  • With over 32,000 items received, reused and donated again
Groups of people looking at tables full of kitchen and homeware items

Donate, Don’t Waste

Donate, Don't Waste is a scheme run by the University of Sheffield, Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield City Council, and charity partners to help make it as easy as possible for students to donate reusable items and dispose of waste responsibly.

As students prepare to move out of University accommodation, they are encouraged to donate any items that they don’t want to take with them. British Heart Foundation donation points are located across the residences for items such as shoes, clothes, bric-a-brac, etc. Kitchen and homeware items, including pots, pans, and crockery, are collected to be given away at the Free Shop for new student arrivals in September and February. 

Since starting in 2013, the Donate, Don’t Waste scheme has helped students in Sheffield divert 66,000 bags of useable items from landfills by donating them to the British Heart Foundation. 

This is equivalent to:

  • £925,000 worth of donations 
  • 469 tonnes of items 
  • 4,776,677kg CO2 equivalent (compared to being sent to a landfill)
  • Over 9.4 tonnes of food has been donated by students to S6 Foodbank since 2015, equating to 17,465 meals. 

Hard to Recycle Hub

The Hard to Recycle Hub was introduced to Endcliffe in 2023 to provide options to donate items that can’t go into normal recycling streams. The scheme collects items for:

  • Bras for Aid4Gambia
  • Pens are donated to a local junior school
  • Crisp packets are recycled
  • Clothing donated to The Charity Shop in Woodseats
  • Books given to the university libraries for academic use
  • Used stamps sent to Branby Horse Sanctuary
  • Batteries are recycled
ACS Recycle Hub

Green Impact

Green Impact is a national programme to encourage sustainable initiatives within the work place, the Accommodation and Commercial Services team has taken part for many years, with a focus on introducing and promoting environmental schemes within the student residences. 

2022/23 - Gold Award

  • Energy Saving awareness campaign delivered to students living in the residences to encourage sustainable behaviours.
  • Installed the Recycling Hub in the Edge to facilitate the donation or recycling of items that can't go into normal waste streams
  • Introduced a Free Shop for semester 2 arrivals using donations from semester 1 leavers
  • Hosted the Sustainable Fashion Show and Clothes Swap in collaboration with Residence Life and the British Heart Foundation

2021/22 - Silver Award

  • Big Spring Clean awareness campaign and pop-up event at the Edge with our charity partners and a clothes swap. 

2020/21 - Bronze Award

  • Promotion of Food Waste Action Week with week long campaign and sign up promotion for staff and students to join BetterPoints app.
Three students sat on the grass, there is one of the student accommodation buildings in the background

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