University refurbishes exam desks with Recycle Scotland

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The Estates Waste and Furniture Management Team is working with Recycle Scotland to bring life back to the University’s exam desks.

Recycle Scotland is a Livingston-based company that provides a sustainable and environmental answer to the disposal of redundant furniture, fittings, and equipment in the workplace. The company is working with individuals in the care of the Scottish Prison Service (SPS) to refurbish these desks and through engagement, the project provides secure work-based activity for those in custody to obtain transferable skills, practical work-based experience and, where relevant, for some to progress towards a qualification. Persons released from custody may then have practical life skills, qualifications and experience. Ideally, the combination of these elements may facilitate potential paths toward employment for some individuals.

A total of 1,400 desks will be refurbished – the first 700 this financial year, and the second batch in the next financial year.

A refurbished desk (front right) sits amongst the original ones during the April/May examination diet in Playfair Library

The project is due to be completed by the end of 2024 when it is estimated that the University and Recycle Scotland will have contributed to approximately 8,500 social value hours. Carbon savings will be in the region of 8,000 kgCO2e. If The University were to replace these desks, the cost would be around £360,000.

The exam desks have been restored sympathetically – existing paint was stripped and repainted, and the tops were sanded and varnished. Thousands of students will have sat exams at these desks over their 55 years, and thanks to Restore Scotland and individuals under the care of SPS, thousands more students will be able to use them.

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Refurbishing exam desks with Recycle Scotland

Estates | The University of Edinburgh

Recycle Scotland