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.