Wananga landing Wananga landing

Free tables at UC

25 September 2023

A free table is typically in an area where there's high foot traffic. Surplus items are placed on these tables for students and staff to repurpose or recycle. Free tables provide a great way to keep perfectly usable items out of landfill, and help each other out by giving things away. Find out more about free tables at UC.


What is a UC Free Table?

A Free Table is typically in an area where there is high foot traffic. Surplus items are placed on these tables for students and staff to repurpose or recycle them. Items are usually sourced from different offices in that building, or staff and students occasionally place their own items on them as well. Free Tables are a great way of keeping perfectly usable items out of the landfill, and helping each other out by giving things away. Students usually clear items off Free Tables very quickly.


Why are Free Tables good for UC?

  • Builds good relationships between staff and students.
  • Ongoing decanting of buildings over the course of remediation of earthquake damage means that offices are regularly cleaned out of surplus materials. Free Tables recycle/repurpose usable items and keep them out of landfill, which in turn reduces waste management costs incurred by UC.
  • Encourages a recycle/re-use culture across the university in a way that is visible and practical.


Things that can be recycled/repurposed on Free Tables

The items placed on a Free Table is up to UC staff or student discretion. These could include:

  1. Office stationary items that are no longer required by UC staff/students
  2. Books and textbooks
  3. Small household items, homewares and crockery 
  4. Non-perishable food items 
  5. Clothing (clean and in good condition).


Where are UC Free Tables located? (2021)

Please note - due to the ongoing remediation of buildings on campus, the list below may be subject to change at short notice.

Puaka/James Hight building. Underneath the stairs that lead up into the library, next to the lift. Maintained by the Sustainability Office
Macmillan Brown Library. Te Ao Mārama, Arts Rd

Some Tips

  1. It might be a good idea for a designated staff member to keep an eye on the table to ensure it stays tidy.
  2. Remind departmental staff occasionally about the Free Table, and ask them to put any appropriate items from their own offices on the table
  3. You could have a Free Table just once a week, once a month (maybe on a Friday), or during a particular event that results in a lot of foot traffic through a particular area – it doesn’t have to be a permanent fixture in your department.


Free Table Posters

Setting up a Free Table in your office or department? Download the UC Sustainability Free Table poster below! UC staff are welcome to adapt this for their own use.

Free Table Poster

Download (application/pdf, 70 KB)

Long term goals of Free Tables and Repurposing UC Office Items

  • A network of free tables across the whole university that has good visibility – staff and students know where they are and use them. Most colleges or buildings have at least one free table, or staff know where to take surplus items to Free tables in other buildings.
  • Encourage a recycle/re-use culture resulting in a reduction of useful items going into the landfill.
  • Development of a ‘virtual’ office resource room, where staff can list items that might still be useful for other offices, instead of giving them away to students.

Any questions or ideas about Free Tables at UC? Email the Sustainability Office.

Privacy Preferences

By clicking "Accept All Cookies", you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyse site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts.