Students who are moving out of college have a new place to put unwanted items in place of the dumpster.
The Orange County Solid Waste Management Department will be hosting its second annual Spring Move-out Reuse Rodeo at the Hargraves Center from Wednesday to Sunday of next week.
The main goal is to divert waste from landfills to places where it can be reused. The importance of reducing waste increased after the closing of the Orange County landfill in June 2013, Muriel Williman , the event's primary organizer, said.
“It seems like a natural marriage when students are moving out, and they have left over things or things they don’t want to move with,” Williman said. “It’s kind of a classic time of year when there’s a lot of good stuff left on the curb that could really benefit others.”
The rodeo will accept donations of many items, including unopened food, clothing and appliances. Not everything can be accepted though, and a full list of items can be found at the organization's website.
“It’s not a garbage dump or anything like that,” Williman said. “We really want used but useful items and only the things that are on the list.”
She said the event was successful last year, but participation was light until the last day, so she and her department are doing more outreach to spread the word this year.
One reason the event can be successful is that the costs are really low because the local nonprofits provide volunteers to help with collection, she said.
The PTA Thrift Shop is one of the main nonprofits participating in the rodeo. Matt Pennachi, director of community relations for the thrift store, said the store resells the items it collects and gives the proceeds to the local school district.
Pennachi said students can help the store either through donations or by shopping in their stores.
“Honestly, our participation in this event is not necessarily about our needs,” he said. “It is just about participating in the community event to keep as much material as possible out of the landfill and redirect it to its best use.”
While the rodeo focuses mainly on off-campus students, the UNC housing department has its own drive called, "Don't ditch it. Donate it!"
The campaign is targeted, but not restricted, to on-campus students.
A complete list of acceptable items and donation locations can be found on Department of Housing and Residential Education's website. Associate Director of Housing Rick Bradley said he wanted to emphasize the role of the drive in keeping items out of landfills.
“Those are the most powerful things that people can see,” Bradley said. “Since 2009, we’ve saved 110 tons, which is 220,000 pounds of unwanted goods that would otherwise wind up in our landfill.”
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