Unfortunately when it comes to disposing of unwanted items the American way of thinking is to just throw it away; this simplifies to “out of sight and out of mind.” But every good environmentalist knows is there is no away when it comes to trash. This is an important thing to remember as you start packing up your things for the summer. It’s always rather bewildering at the end of the school year to look around your room and see all the random things that you have accumulated. It’s a pretty safe bet that you won’t be packing up every individual item you own to take back with you. That’s where the Sustainability Office can help. Here are the answers to all the questions you might be having about how to contribute to a sustainable campus move out!
What items can I donate?
You may have been noticing random boxes lined up in residence buildings on campus. You can deposit all the items you don’t feel like cramming into your suitcase into these very receptacles! In case you haven’t gotten a chance to look at the specific items you can donate, here’s some more details about the 5 categories that you can sort your belongings into:
- Personal Hygiene Items and Cleaning Supplies
You can deposit more than your half empty bottles of shampoo and laundry detergent into this receptacle. If there was a color of eye shadow you never seemed to like, or a scent of deodorant that just kept you away you can donate all of those items here! We are accepting all opened and unopened personal hygiene items as well as cleaning supplies in this category.
- Non Perishable Food Items
If you no longer require those half full boxes of cereal or miscellaneous packs of Ramen piled away in residence, you can drop those bad boys off in the non-perishable food item box. Both open and unopened food items are accepted.
Small appliances, broken or completely functional electronic devices can be sorted into this category. This includes anything from batteries to coffee makers- unwanted electronics of any type will be welcomed with open arms (or flaps) by these little boxes.
- Clothing and Fabric Items
This is usually a big one when it comes to moving out. As you’re packing you may be wondering to yourself, why on earth have I accumulated all of these clothes? Well you’re in luck, because we’ll take them off your hands! They don’t even have to be in pristine condition. If you have some torn or stained fabric items that you don’t plan on keeping- we’ll take those too. (These items are dropped off at an organization that recycles fabric!) This includes anything from t-shirts and jeans to bed linens and towels, but keep your undergarments please. Shoes are also accepted, but in this case we please ask that they be in acceptable and re-usable condition.
- Miscellaneous Items
This last category is the catch all for the rest of the random donations you might have. School supplies, home furnishings, decorations, kitchenware, CD’s, artwork, and anything that can be reused- we’ll take it!
Where do all of these donations go?
As you have probably already correctly guessed, the Share Shop is the recipient of many of these plentiful donations. But as you may imagine, the donations quickly exceed much of the Shop’s capacity. So where does everything go from there? A good number of the donated items are re-allocated to various organizations around Galesburg. Food and personal care items are donated to Safe Harbor, ripped or torn fabric is given to ReNew who works with a company that recycles fabric, and we donate the remaining surplus items to local thrift stores, such as Purple Hanger and Community Threads, to support local organizations. Another benefit of utilizing the move-out receptacles is that any item that you may be unsure of in terms of recycling (ie used makeup brushes, or toothpaste tubes) will be properly diverted to the acceptable recycling program. So your mind can rest easy that your donated goods will not be haphazardly tossed into the local landfill.
What shouldn’t I donate?
On behalf of the entire moveout staff, we politely ask that you refrain from donating your underwear. Even if they are the sparkliest of tighty whities, sorting other people’s pantaloons is not the most pleasant experience for the moveout volunteers and staff. In addition to this, we please ask that you donate clean belongings. For example, if you are donating a pan, please make sure it is not crusted with old tomato soup first. This holds true for clothing as well, while we are happy to take ripped or potentially stained fabrics, we do ask that they be clean. The entire move-out crew and the the potential donation partners around Galesburg sincerely thank you for your cooperation with this request!
Where are the donation boxes?
In or near the laundry rooms of all campus halls you will find five receptacles patiently awaiting the arrival of their beloved donations. They should also be available in the entryways or living rooms of all on-campus houses, and if you are still in search of them there is a set located along the hall in Seymour Gallery.
What should I do if the boxes are full or if I have any questions?
Starting next week the boxes will be checked on a daily basis between 4-6:30pm. If there are problems with the boxes overflowing or additional questions regarding donations please contact the sustainability office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Now you know everything there is to know about assisting in a sustainable move-out at Knox! Last year we diverted more than 7 tons of donated items from the landfill to be re-used on campus through the Share Shop, properly recycled, and donated to local thrift stores and charities throughout the Galesburg area. Hopefully this year we can beat that record and ensure that we get one step closer to a waste free world!