UBReUSE is Turning Trash into Treasure

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It’s almost that time of year again – finals, graduation, and move out. A time filled with commotion, stress, and a surprising amount of waste. But at the University at Buffalo, that’s about to change.

This May, UB students are implementing a new sustainability initiative – a program called UBReUSE. The program will help collect goods that students would normally throw away during move out and give them a new life in a huge yard sale during UB’s Opening Weekend in the fall.

This year’s pilot program will be run by a team of Education and Leadership Fellows in Sustainability (ELFS) and other student volunteers from environmental clubs and service organizations.

Photos of Opening Weekend Move-in 2011 Photographer: Steve Morse
Photos of Opening Weekend Move-in 2011
Photographer: Steve Morse

From May 8th-15th, the ELFS will be organizing a collection site near two of the largest student housing complexes, Ellicott Complex and Greiner Hall, as well as Hadley Village, to help collect furniture, blankets, clothes, kitchen supplies and any other unwanted goods that would normally be thrown in a dumpster and sent to a landfill.

UBReUSE is completely student-run, but is working closely with the University at Buffalo’s department of Campus Living to make the program as successful as possible.

This initiative aims to dissuade campus throw-away culture, and offers a more sustainable reuse-culture in its place. They want to give students another option besides throwing things away in a dumpster – and to do that, they’ll have to make UBReUSE collections sites easier to access and more visible than throw-away sites.

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UBReUSE will also be distributing collection bins through the dorm hallways, near trash and recycling cans, to make it as easy for students as possible to make the choice to donate instead of toss.

The items collected during the move out process will be refurbished and stored over the summer and sold back to students at the beginning of the fall semester. Over the summer, after all the collections are done, volunteers will work to take inventory, refurbish items that need love, and check and fix electronic items.

UBReUSE hopes to make use of an outdoor location, possibly in a large green space near the Ellicott complex that would be easily accessible to students and their parents during move-in time.

The profits from the move in sale will create a revolving fund to help sustain and expand the UBReUSE program, and also to support other student sustainability initiatives on campus.

UBReUSE is a local chapter of the Post-Landfill Action Network, a non-profit organization that provides student groups with advising, best practice guides, start-up funding, and other resources to help them launch or expand programs that keep reusable items on campus and out of landfills.

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