Practical (and environmentally friendly) resources when living in Glasgow as a PGR
As an undergraduate student with limited income, I always looked for cheaper alternatives around Glasgow when it came to home furnishings or DIY projects. As I often work on my PhD from home, I like my flat -but also my office- to be a comforting and reassuring space and furnishings play a big part in that. Even small details like a nice teapot, plants on my desk, a vision board, small storage containers, or picture frames can make for a more comfortable writing experience. I also really hate waste so I try to recycle or buy second hand whenever possible. To avoid waste and reduce my costs, here are a few resources I use to find either cheaper or better quality alternatives locally when it comes to home or office furniture and DIY.
One of the best initiatives out there is Warp it. Warp it is a waste reduction scheme where businesses, rather than dispose of unwanted items they offer staff the opportunity to claim it. These are not broken or damaged goods, very often they are offered because the university might be redecorating an area or refurbishing so it needs to get rid of the furniture in the space. For example, Warp it is really good if you’re looking for an extra chair, even a corkscrew board for your office, or a desk for your home. They are often not the most stylish of furnishings but they will do the job if you’re looking for extra office storage for example. As a PGR at Glasgow you have access to UofG’s own Warp It network. You register with your university account and it will show items the university is trying to recirculate.
Another great resources great for finding storing materials for your piles of papers, furniture or just households goods like lamps, kitchen utensils or functional things like instruments or backpack is Freecycle. Freecycle is a worldwide community where people offer the things they are either replacing or must sell because they are moving from the area. A downside to Freecycle is that often you need to collect the item yourself, but a great thing about it is the variety of items you can find.
Social media is also a great place to find (or sell) things you might need for your office or your home. Facebook has its own Marketplace but there are also local sharing or bartering groups where people exchange items or services without monetary payments, in an attempt to encourage a sharing economy. The university’s forum is also a good place to find things that moving students are trying to get rid of. I personally love that Glasgow has such a huge number of charity shops where you can find pretty much anything you might need (if you have the time to look for it). Although most charity shops here are known for their clothes selling, most of them stock stationary and small and big furnishings. There is also an increasing number of antique shops around the West End which have really tasteful and cheap items. I recently furnished my house and I felt really proud of my no-waste achievement after having found everything second hand (apart from two rugs).
The concept of zero-food waste might seem strange to many people, but there is a growing awareness around how much unnecessary food waste we produce every year. There are more and more community initiatives trying to raise awareness around this and intercept supermarket food products that are still edible before it goes into landfill. You’ll find various community organisations across Glasgow that have regular meals made with produce donated by from supermarkets. A good example of this is the Glasgow School of Art student run Throwaway Gourmet. You can find information about other similar organisations here and here. A lot of these meals are free or run on small donations and the cooks are generally great so it’s great way to have a nice dinner for quite cheap and meet new people.
Community gardens are also a great way to get fresh fruit and vegetables - you would be surprised at what an abundance you can get over the summer in Glasgow. UofG has it’s very own community garden with sessions just for PGR’s every Thursday at 1pm. There is also the Woodlands Garden also in the West End who have a number of fruit trees and are very welcoming!
What are some of the ways you like to save money or avoid waste?