Emory student move-out donations divert 87 tons of waste for a good cause

By Ayla Ekici | Emory Report | July 9, 2019

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Colorful bags and bins helped Emory students sort items for recycling, donating or composting when they moved out after spring semester. More than 87 tons of items were collected for resale or donation.

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Several Emory departments teamed up for the annual “Don’t Dump It, Donate It” campaign at the end of the academic year, with more than 87 tons of items being collected for resale or donation rather than going to a landfill. 

“Don’t Dump It, Donate It” is a joint effort between Emory Housing, Residence Life, Building and Residential Services and the Office of Sustainability, running for more than 10 years.

The campaign is designed to bring landfill diversion to the forefront of the move-out process. This program not only helped to make recycling, composting and donating easy for thousands of student-residents as they moved out for the summer; it also diverted more than 87.32 tons from landfills and benefitted Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Foundation ,which received the proceeds from the collection and sale of donated items. 

Waste diversion is an important component of Emory’s Sustainability Vision for 2025, which includes a goal to divert 95 percent of the University’s non-construction waste from municipal landfills by 2025. Some changes were made to this year’s “Don’t Dump It, Donate It” campaign to better align with Emory’s waste program. 

“Options were provided for students to manage their personal items in a manner that aligns with Emory’s commitment to a zero landfill future,” says Deena Keeler, director of auxiliary services. 

Multiple bins and trucks were placed around campus for large donation items, including near all residential halls and fraternity and sorority housing. Blue recycling bins and green composting bins were stationed alongside a few dumpsters that were placed on campus for items to be landfilled. Students had the option to utilize bags – blue bags for recycling, green bags for compost, and purple bags for small donations – to collect and transport items to the trucks and bins. Additionally, “volunteers and staff were on-site during heavy move-out days to educate students and provide support with proper sorting of materials,” adds Keeler. 

At Emory’s Atlanta campus, a total of 60,015 pounds (30 tons) of donations were collected, 50.81 tons were recycled and 5.65 tons were composted. The 30 tons of donations included 28,648 pounds of clothing, 4,529 pounds of books, 2,259 pounds of supplies, 5,876 pounds of furniture, and 3,550 pounds of food, and 15,153 pounds of miscellaneous goods. 

Similar efforts at Emory’s Oxford campus diverted a total of 7,116 pounds (3.56 tons) of items to donation. The collection included 3,556 pounds of clothing, 518 pounds of books, 380 pounds of supplies, 429 pounds of furniture, 650 pounds of food, and 1,583 pounds of miscellaneous goods. 

Overall, this successful waste diversion campaign “was the result of a lot of behind-the-scenes coordination among numerous departments, and I am proud to be a part of this effort,” says Jonathan Cooper, director of housing and operations.