Environment

You Create a Baby's Weight in Waste Every 2 Days

May 29th 2015

By:
Ashley Nicole Black

It's the end of the school year! Time for the annual ritual of forgetting to pack for weeks and then just putting everything you own in a dumpster before leaving your college campus. I mean, honestly, how badly do you need that awesome bean bag chair you emptied your bank account to buy nine months ago? Not that badly, not when you'd have to drag it home on a plane or in a Honda Civic.

But there's still something better you can do than throwing it away:

Donate it!

Seriously, donate it. Landfills are already well... filled. In 2012 (most recent data available), Americans threw away 251 million tons of trash, that's 4.38 pounds of trash per person per day. That's right, you personally create a baby's weight in waste every two days. Gross. Of course, we can create less waste by buying less things in the first place, but since its already too late for that, you can end the school year right by finding more creative ways to empty out your dorm room or apartment.

1. Donate your unwanted belongings to someone in need.

Your college campus may provide the service for you. Look into your Res Life and/or Sustainability departments to see if they provide a move-out donation service. Many schools collect the donations and distribute them to local charities, or the public, for you. If your school doesn't do it, organize it! DePauw University has a great program that you can emulate. Or you can donate to organizations like the Salvation Army or Goodwill that are sure to have outlets in your town.

2. Make a little extra cash.

Even if you don't donate your items, you can still do the earth a service and keep your stuff out of landfills by selling it for a little extra, end-of-the-term cash. Clothes can be sold to consignment companies like Crossroads or Buffalo Exchange, and pretty much anything can be sold or freecycled on Craigslist. Craigslisters will even come and pick the stuff up, making it the optimal choice for those of us who are feeling a little lazy after finals (but, please be safe and don't meet any strangers alone).

You can sell or donate more things than you think.

Textbooks

Sell your textbooks back to the bookstore, or donate them to the library. I can confidently promise you that you will never read them again, especially the ones that aren't from the classes in your major. 

School supplies

Donate school supplies to local charities. Some poor kid out there has to write a book report on Old Yeller... you can make sure he at least has a pencil... and some notebook paper on which to dry his tears. 

Random stuff

Electronics, food, bikes, and bedding can all be donated once you realize, too late, that they aren't going to fit in your car.

You.

And most importantly, your time can be donated to charity over summer break. Find somewhere to volunteer to assuage that guilt you picked up in your Feminism or American History class. 

The whole point of college is to become a more responsible, engaged member of society. Don't blow it by contributing to overflowing landfills on the last day of school.