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Sustainability @ the
University of Rochester

Third Annual Move-out Cleanout a Success

June  2011

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How much “stuff” do you accumulate over the course of a year? Food you’re planning on tossing, that pair of jeans you’ve been telling yourself will fit next month…every month for the past year? Well there are lots of options for what you can do with these things in the process of a move-out, but on a college campus, oftentimes harried students stop at the first and most obvious option: throwing it away. But when there are people who are hungry or in need all around us, it seems a shame to waste such basic necessities. Well thanks to Amy Kadrie, UR’s Recycling Coordinator, students are now offered some alternatives. For the 3rd consecutive year, Kadrie has organized the Move-out Cleanout, a Facilities-run operation which serves to collect any unwanted clothes, non-perishable food items, and electronics that students may have and wish to discard in the process of moving out of their dorms at the end of spring semester.

Every one of the Cleanout’s three years has been a huge success. This year alone, a total of 1,745 pounds of non-perishable food was collected for the Open Door Mission of Rochester, an organization whose undertaking is “breaking the cycle of homelessness and poverty.” The Cleanout efforts also resulted in collecting 7,930 pounds of gently used clothing, exceeding 2010’s Cleanout collection by almost 400 pounds! The clothes were collected for donation to Planet Aid, an organization responsible for recycling over 2.5 billion pounds of textile waste annually, waste that would have otherwise ended up in a landfill. In addition 1,403 pounds of electronics were collected to be properly recycled.

The Move-out Cleanout, in conjunction with Dump & Run, an event run by student sustainability group Grassroots, serves to reduce the massive amounts of unnecessary waste that would typically result from student move-out each year. Grassroots, a group which serves to draw awareness of sustainability to the student body throughout their time at the University, have modeled their program after the National Dump & Run program. So for students, at the end of the school year, while the Cleanout provides an outlet to donate food and clothing, the Dump & Run covers essentially everything else, from dorm furniture to used appliances. Grassroots then resells these items in the fall semester to students who can use them and anything not sold goes to charity.

Dump & Run also went without a hitch this year and collected two truck-loads of goods including some nice fridges, microwaves, rugs, and lots more that would have otherwise been trash. According to student member of Grassroots, Ann Brandish, “students seemed happy to be able to donate their unwanted items, instead of simply throwing them away.”