U stresses recycling for dorm move-out

To reduce the waste it collects during move-out, the University is encouraging recycling.

Emily Cutts

Each year, thousands of students move into dorms with clothes, appliances and furniture. And each May, thousands of students move out, leaving behind excess they accumulate throughout the year.
For those living in University of Minnesota housing, recycling extra items as well as traditional recyclables like paper and pop bottles is encouraged over just throwing things away.
âÄúWe try to provide the bins âĦ so that some of that stuff that is recyclable can be recycled or reused versus just showing up in a landfill,âÄù said Mannix Clark, associate director of Housing and Residential Life. âÄúIt has always been our hope that if we supply them and the student sees them that they will use them instead of throwing it away.âÄù
Freshman Erin McGuirk said she doesnâÄôt plan on throwing much out. Most will come home with her or be donated, she said.
âÄúI donâÄôt really like the idea of throwing it away,âÄù said McGuirk. âÄúThere is someone that can use it, probably.âÄù
University recycling coordinator Dana Donatucci said the UniversityâÄôs recycling efforts capture three to four tons of âÄúreusablesâÄù âÄî items like clothing, small furniture and appliances, excluding traditional recyclable material.
During move-out, 50 to 60 tons of waste are collected. For each ton, the University must pay $60 in disposal fees, not including handling or collection fees, costing the University $3,000 to $4,000 a year, Donatucci said.
Various programs help students on and off campus discard the overflow of items.
The ReUse Program helps collect some of the would-be waste. Containers are placed in residence hall lobbies for students to get rid of used clothes and nonperishable food items.
âÄúWe used to see a lot more [furniture], but there has definitely been a change as the economy has changed,âÄù University ReUse coordinator Chris Hruza said.
While the center still collects furniture, it is mostly limited to electronics like lamps and similar items, he said.
Last year, the ReUse Program collected more than 6,000 pounds of clothing and 1.5 tons of nonperishable food items.
The ReUse program also works with the Southeast Como Improvement Association.
The association started a program last year called Move In/Move Out (MIMO), which collects furniture items, food, clothing and other items from residents in the Southeast Como neighborhood. The furniture is then stored in the ReUse Program warehouse, and students can come and pick up items for free.
Last year, the program helped to divert 13,000 pounds of furniture and other reusable items from reaching landfills.
SECIA environmental coordinator Justin Eibenholzl said organizers hope to partner MIMO with the University in the future.
The UniversityâÄôs move-out recycling has been in place on and off since the late 1980s, Donatucci said.
âÄúWe wanted to have an option that wasnâÄôt just disposal,âÄù she said. âÄúIt seemed to be something students really, really enjoyed having the opportunity to do.âÄù