University of Rochester

Sustainability Home

Sustainability @ the
University of Rochester

Move Out Cleanout 2010

June 2010

yellow Planet Aid clothing box
Planet Aid clothing collection bin

Every year, over 20 billion pounds of clothing ends up in our landfills. In fact, every 1 in 10 items of clothing is estimated to be thrown away without ever being worn!

On University campuses, the number of students moving out of buildings during April and May adds as much as 25% to the normal waste stream, and it’s mostly clothing, food, and dorm accessories that could be put to good use. This spike in waste production leaves many universities wondering what to do with all that extra waste, and led Amy Kadrie, the University Recycling Coordinator, to decide on a course of action.

The “Move Out Cleanout,” coupled with “Dump and Run,” a student organized dorm recycling program, was started in 2009 with outstanding results: a total of 2,651 pounds of clothing and 350 pounds of food collected. Thanks to these great results, Kadrie decided to expand the program with more collection bins for both food and clothing, including sending bins to the off-campus residents at Riverview. With Riverview coming in first place for the total pounds of clothing donated with an astounding 1,671 pounds of clothing donated from those buildings alone, she seems to have had the right idea!

This year, the university more than surpassed their last total by collecting a grand total of 7,586 pounds of clothing, equivalent to about 3,800 pounds, or 1.9 tons per week! That’s about 4 horses – in clothing – donated to people who need it. In food, we collected and donated a total of about 1,500 pounds, which “to us here at the Mission is nothing less than OUTSTANDING,” said a staff member from Open Door Mission who coordinated food collections. “We can’t wait until next year to do it all over again.”

As electronics (which contain hazardous chemicals and should never be placed in the trash) were collected at the Sage and Susan B Anthony loading docks, we also managed to collect an encouraging 1,534 pounds of “e-waste,” approximating about the same weight as 341 MacBook laptops in one week.

All told, “Move out Cleanout” 2010 seems to have gone off without a hitch, and been even more successful than expected. With any luck, we can hope to increase our numbers every year!