Originally published on the University of Colorado Environmental Center’s Facebook Page. Read the full post here.
After students are finished with their finals, they are rushed to move out of their residence halls, which is a period of time known as Student Move Out. As proven in years past, Move Out on the CU campus is a time where a significantly large amount of waste is produced. Unfortunately, a great percentage of this waste consists of usable items that are in good and working condition. To divert these usable items from entering the landfill, CU Recycling holds its annual Reusable Items Drive during student move out. Capturing these reusable items also created social benefit by channeling these quality “left-overs” to people of lower incomes.
Twenty three “Reusable Items Donation Stations” were set up in the lobbies of each residence hall. Stations were removed from Smith, as it is under construction with no students living there this year. Bear Creek remained the locations for 2 stations as it proved to be a strong collection point again this year. Some of the materials collected included clothing, bedding, towels, furniture, small appliances, kitchenware, office products, and sporting goods. Separate containers were set up to collect non-perishable food items and personal care products.
For the first year, CU Recycling partnered with USAgain to provide daily collections from each “Donation Station.” Having the help of an outside vendor to perform daily collections continues to be crucial to the success of the Reusable Items Drive. USAgain provided a 24-foot box truck (two trucks on the heaviest days) and several men to collect the reusable items over a two-week period. Without the help of USAgain, CU Recycling would not have had the manpower or the equipment to properly run the Reusable Items drive. The reusable items collected by USAgain were taken to their Denver warehouse, bailed, and shipped to a variety of locations where people in need can use the clothes as a source of income. Most of the clothes will be shipped to third world countries to benefit people of those nations. Some of the clothes will also be shipped domestically in the US to various thrift stores. Items that are not clothes will still find a home, as USAgain has many outlets for items like small electronics, furniture, toys, etc.
After setting up the bins, CU Recycling also provided assistance to the collections by visiting every “Donation Station” ahead of USAgain. During these monitoring visits, the CU Recycling crew would put all the materials into bags so that it was easier for the USAgain crew to collect the materials when they arrived.
All non-perishable food items and personal care products were collected by CU Recycling. The food was donated to Community Food Share and the personal care products were donated to the Boulder County Homeless Shelter. Also, several of the “Donation Stations” included a spare change drop off container. Money collected from the spare change containers was given to the Globe Med program at CU. The funds will be used for programs to help villages in Nepal with improved sanitation projects.