Sites like eBay, Gumtree and Facebook Marketplace have become valuable resources for anyone looking to sell, find or swap goods – however nurseries, schools, colleges and universities have a niche need for equipment and as budgets are squeezed they’re often trawling these sites to no avail. In comes Reuse4education, a new online portal dedicated solely to education providers looking to swap, sell, donate, buy or even borrow unwanted resources.

Reuse4education.com is built on one man’s dream to build an international educational community designed to provide schools, colleges and universities with access to an incredible variety of resources, equipment and opportunities.

That man is Mark Abrahams, the founder and CEO of Recycle Your Cycle – a revolutionary programme launched in 2016 in partnership with HM Prison Service, which sees over 300 biles and more than 100 vacuums being refurbished by UK inmates every month.

Budgets for all public sector services are always tight and it’s no different for the education sector, this free and easy to use online service allows education institutions to buy, sell, swap and loan equipment, everything from textbooks to test-tubes and PE equipment to printers.

With 80 universities, colleges and schools already signed up, it couldn’t be easier to use either, registration is straight forward, once logged on, users simply search for equipment they need or list items they no longer need and want to donate or sell. As well as the website, Reuse4education also provides a weekly email with a list of resources that are on offer.

Discussing how and why Reuse4education has come about, Mark stated:

“Through Recycle Your Cycle I have seen the benefits of upcycling and reusing unwanted materials and I was adamant that there was an opportunity to implement these principles in other sectors. There are increased pressures on the education sector with squeezed budgets and limited resources so I felt Reuse4education could be a starting point to change this.

So often colleges and universities refurbish their equipment and there’s no reason why schools couldn’t put it to good use. Furthermore, in many cases, equipment is only needed in the short-term for a certain project, if it could be borrowed rather than bought this would be invaluable. My only goal with Reuse4education is to strengthen the education community in the UK and hopefully down the line, around the world”.

Whilst researching the concept, Reuse4education spoke with a number of teachers to understand their concerns and specific needs, one teacher commented:

“As a science teacher in an 11-16 secondary school, I often find myself wanting pieces of equipment for lessons that wouldn’t justify the cost of only being used once a year. I love the idea of sharing such equipment between schools and allowing the students to access even better resources for their learning”!

Discussing the existing buy and sell sites, a second teacher added:

“Amazon and eBay are great but searching for text books and resources is hard work, so reuse4education is just fantastic and really, really needed. We have items at school which I know would be of use to someone else when we finish doing certain courses, so it is great to know we can now put them on this site and pass them on”.

Reuse4education is accessible on a local, regional, national and hopefully soon an international scale. The dream is that not only will it provide valuable resources but also reduce waste, maximise recycling and build a stronger community amongst the UK’s educators.