• Roger Mellom

    Or better yet the University could make the students active participants by requiring them to notify the pick-up truck of their need to have something hauled off instead of just creating a huge pile of trash. Make it an offense to dump furniture, etc. and charge a fine if they don’t use the offered service. Y=The university could also set up a “Free Bay” type website too where outgoing students could target incoming students with their used stuff.

    • http://greenupgrader.com Matt Embrey

      Good points Roger, but there’s a couple problems… the trash piles are from the off-campus housing where the University doesn’t really have control. The Town of Durham runs a tight ship as far as code enforcement but because the students are so hard to track they hit the landlords when there are problems. That usually gets passed on to the students through forfeited security deposits but in many cases they are already forfeiting the money for damages. It’s really hard to hold students accountable.

      The Free Bay or Free Cycle idea is a great one but the major problem without an intermediary is the three month long summer. The students moving out want the stuff gone and the students moving in don’t usually make arraignments for acquiring furniture until long after the outgoing students stuff is gone.

  • http://www.organiclifestylemagazine.com Jeanne

    I think the pictures taken of the aftermath would go along way if they were put in front of the right person at the University. What about taking more pictures and getting in contact with the dean and letting the students come up with a solution? If the problem was addressed in the beginning of the school year, the students could put together a committee to address it.

    • http://greenupgrader.com Matt Embrey

      That is a good idea. Unfortunately I’m about a week too late to get any good photos.

      The universities office of sustainability does some pretty good things. I am sure they are already aware of the issue and more intimately involved in some solutions. I will email them and find out what their take is and post a follow up.

  • giz

    I had this problem at my college in Putney, VT.
    I even TOLD someone to recycle a giant box and they ignored me.

    I go through the trash weekly to make sure there’re no recyclables in it.
    Also, our school has a thing where students can leave lightly used/new items in each hall’s lounge; these are then donated to the school yard sale.

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  • James Johnson

    This seems like exactly what our local Goodwill is always looking for. In our city you can call the Goodwill and they will not only drive out to pick up your furniture but you can get a tax receipt to help you on your taxes for that year. The environment wins, the less fortunate win, & you keep some $ in your pocket. Win-WIn-Win.

    • http://greenupgrader.com Matt Embrey

      That is great. Unfortunately I didn’t have that same experience. A couple years ago I did a big spring cleaning and had a whole trailer full of stuff to bring there. It was all good stuff, but apparently I wasn’t the only one that had cleaned house and they turned me away because they had too many donations and no room house them all.

      • Diane

        I think that it’s all a function of your location and time of the year. Some local cultures are very re-use oriented and they will bombard their local thrift shops with donations and some struggle for donations.

        I am surprised there aren’t more university sponsored programs to help reduce consumption by providing a medium for exchange and reuse.

  • Thomas

    I go to school at Illinois Wesleyan University, and most of the students that attend are more affluent than a normal college student. With affluence comes waste I guess, and for a while, we were experiencing the same problem at the end of the school year. What we decided to do was open a thrift store right on campus for students to bring all of the stuff they didn’t want or have since stopped using, and it has helped with this problem a LOT…

  • Jen

    You should check out Warren Wilson College in North Carolina. They have a free store where students are constantly dropping things off and picking other things up-it works great for them and their population. Sounds like a similar idea to what you are proposing.

  • Jeff9

    I’ll suggest something that would really save money in the schools = no toilet paper at all. Install bathroom bidet sprayers in all the toilets and all they’ll need is a small towel(or single paper towel)to dry off. It’s cleaner, cheaper (yes for those who just have to object to everything water is cheaper than toilet paper!), it’s better for the environment and it has health benefits. After they try it, like most people, they will like it. As Dr. Oz said on Oprah: “if you had pee or poop on your hand, you wouldn’t wipe it off with paper, would you? You’d wash it off” This is a logical, doable and simple way to save allot of money and actually improve the students hygiene. But of course like all new ideas people will find countless silly and inane objections, that is the way of things. Theses sprayers are available at http://www.bathroomsprayers.comI installed mine myself, easy.

  • Deb

    punctilious post. simply one unimportant where I quarrel with it. I am emailing you in detail.

  • http://www.thefutonsite.com Futons

    I love the idea. It would definitely work. In fact, here in some of the western states there are huge second hand stores called Deseret Industries. It’s a place that everyone (pretty much) takes the old stuff they can’t or don’t want to use anymore, but is still usable. They then sell the items at low prices, provide employment for people with disabilities, provide employment training for those having difficulty getting a job and so on. It’s great. A lot of the college students and lower income families get great benefit from it. It just makes sense to not waste so much and help others out at the same time.

  • http://www.nut2t.com Jessica

    Me and some friends at Northeastern University in Boston, MA started a collection drive during move-out called Trash2Treasure. We collect reusable goods, store them over in the summer in storage pods, and sell the donated items during Welcome Week in the fall.

    All the money is donated to a LOCAL charity (www.ace-ej.org; not the Salvation Army that has good intentions but questionable impacts), all food is donated to charity, and all excess donations are donated to another local furniture bank for the homeless.