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Opinion

Opinion

Treasure, not trash

A recent effort to promote recycling of usable items deserves the community’s applause.

May 27, 2011

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Congratulations to the Kansas University groups and the local organizations who teamed up this month to facilitate collection of items that students moving out of KU residence halls might otherwise have tossed in the trash.

KU’s Environmental Stewardship Program and the Department of Student Housing teamed up with local social service agencies that could make use of those items. Students who wanted to lighten their load could put nonperishable food and clothing in boxes provided in the lobbies of every KU residence hall. Larger items could be deposited near outdoor trash receptacles.

Making it so easy for students to recycle their unwanted items worked like a charm. The effort collected 4,700 pounds of clothing that went to Planet Aid, and 1,500 pounds of nonperishable food items for the local Just Food pantry. The Lawrence Humane Society took 100 pounds of towels, and the Lawrence Habitat for Humanity ReStore took about everything else, including microwaves, mini refrigerators, cinder blocks, carpet and furniture.

In the rush to finish classes and get moved, students often don’t have the time and energy to seek out places to donate items they don’t want, but this year’s effort made the process quick and easy.

Trash and recycling also are perennial issues in Lawrence at the end of July, when most apartment leases run out and students and other residents again are on the move. Organizing a citywide recycling effort during that time obviously is a bigger challenge than the residence hall program, but perhaps the recent success story will inspire local social service agencies or environmental groups to give it another try.

It’s a shame to see usable items heading for the landfill instead of to an agency that could put them back in service. Everyone involved in the recent residence hall project should be proud of their work and energized to expand their efforts in the years to come.

Comments

Kainks 2 years, 10 months ago

True, the US government isn't doing anything...and I have tried to get them to. I've been researching Planet Aid, and all of Tvind, for 3 years. During that time I've filed complaints with the IRS, the AG of 3 different states, the USDA, and even spoke directly with 2 FBI agents. My material has been used in countless TV and newspaper articles, both here in the USA and in Europe. Nothing has been done, which is hard to admit. But the most difficult of all, is that that last October I walked into the LJWorld office and asked to speak to an investigative reporter. I was told that someone would contact me...no one ever did. And I have gone to almost every site in Lawrence where these bins are located and spoken to the store owners...only 4 have been removed. So you see, we can sit back and complain about the "government" not doing anything, but we really have only ourselves to blame. For those of you who understand what Planet Aid really is and want to do something about it, please learn all you can about this group and speak with your city officials. Just search for "Planet Aid fraud" and you'll find plenty of info.

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Alison Carter 2 years, 10 months ago

Thanks for this worthwhile editorial.

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Ken Lassman 2 years, 10 months ago

Back when the Oread Friends started doing the same thing back in the '70s and was then handled by by the Appropriate Technology Center/Kansas Area Watershed Council after Tom and Anne Moore left town back in the 80s thru just a few years ago, all of the food went to the Women's Transitional Care Service home, the clothes and other articles went to either the Social Service League or the Goodwill here in town, plus a fundraising yard sale to support environmental education through Kaw Council. The University recycling folks, in their infinite wisdom, stopped these pick-ups at the dorms due to their purported fire hazard potential.

It's good that they have decided it's not such a bad idea after all and seem to be willing to work with the groups involved this year to get around these obstacles. I would strongly recommend that those collecting the donations these days consider donating to the local places I mentioned above as they faithfully distributed tons of stuff back into the local community over the years without any problems, and certainly no scams involved. The Social Service League was created to help the community after Quantrill's raid in the 1860's and has been helping ever since--you can't get more altruistic and local than that!

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LadyJ 2 years, 10 months ago

Was Planet Aid the only place that would take the clothes? Even the LJW did and article on the Planet Aid scam. There is a post on Craigslist with links to articles about them http://kansascity.craigslist.org/vnn/2404608158.html or just google them. This is not a charity and the BBB has refused to list them as one. There have been legal charges against them in other countries but the US seems to be dragging it's feet.

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