Academic Year Ends with Recycling Push

Recycle-vs-WasteWhen college students move out of their residence halls, they can generate a lot of waste. In addition to typical things like linens, futons, small chairs, bedding, small drawer sets, mini-fridges, microwaves, lamps, books and clothing, unusual items are sometimes discarded as well.

“Last year one suite donated an antique rocking horse,” says Amanda Dickes, BS’04, MEd’10, residential education area coordinator. “We also found a wooden scarecrow in one of the donation bins,” adds Leslie Newsome, BS’05, MA’07, also an area coordinator.

During Move Out at the close of the academic year, students had ample opportunity to donate and recycle items they didn’t want to keep. Decorations, clothing, small operational electronic appliances and other small items were collected in the lobbies of the residence halls by Move Out partners Dismas House, ARC of Nashville, ThriftSmart and Mending Hearts. The nonprofit organizations will sell the items to raise money.

In addition, Second Harvest Food Bank collected nonperishable food items. The Salvation Army collected furniture and other large items outside the residence halls. Other locations were set up to take nonworking electronic appliances like dorm refrigerators, computers and TVs.

“Move Out is a great opportunity to keep items out of the waste stream,” says Jennifer Hackett, MDiv’00, Vanderbilt recycling coordinator. “Working together with our nonprofit partners ensures the items get recycled and reused.”

Recycling was also a focus at Commencement and related activities. Vanderbilt graduates and guests typically use about 20,000 plastic water bottles at Commencement activities.

“In 2008 we recycled 1.5 tons of plastic from Commencement activities,” says Hackett. “Our goal is to recycle as many bottles as possible and to look at reducing the use of bottles overall.”

The university offered glass recycling for the first time this year at The Party and at the traditional “Strawberries and Champagne” event after Commencement. Besides recycling plastic bottles, glass bottles and aluminum cans, The Party recycled the cardboard boxes in which food and beverages were transported.

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