The Tales of the Office of Sustainability

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Chapter 13- Dump and Run

It was a dark, rainy day when the students were given the ultimatum- have your belongings gathered by noon or leave them for the trash yard. The hurried first-years rushed through their residence rooms, collecting their beloved possessions and ditching their less important things. Between threats from parents, annoyed siblings and under watch by residence employees, they only half-scrapped together their lives and left the rest behind as they departed for summer vacation.

Clothes that were deemed unfashionable, unfitting, or simply forgotten clung to rez corners and were plucked up and thrown into the trash. Some students made the attempt to give them better homes and placed them with care into the Dump and Run locations. Others just took the lot of stuff they did not want and threw it in black bags and tossed them into the dumpster to die.

The dumpster is a dingy and dank place. The black bags and random items comprise the space; and sharp objects poke threateningly through the plastic. It is up to the Office of Campus Sustainability to overcome their fears to save potential donations and recyclables from the dump. It is a tiring and arduous task and some of the student workers fear they may not emerge from the dumpsters alive. Armed with protective gloves (and yours truly with rubber boots), they spend their days coming across a range of goods that they salvage. They reek of all things mouldy and are dripping with a combination of rain and sweat, they are the Sustainability Team and they’re here to combat waste.

Beyond dumpster diving, the team is known for their unique super powers. Whether it is a keen eye for perfectly good donations, a gag reflex that can handle the composting of half-rotten foods, agility with the massive, stubborn carts needed to push donations or the creativity required to organize the sea of stuff that is in “the Pit”.

“The Pit” refers to the dungeon that is the basement of Le Blanc. *Insert ominous music here*the team becomes condemned to “the Pit” for weeks at a time. They swim through the unloved clothes, dishes and assorted “junk” and attempt to wash, sort, and pack it into boxes to be sent away to charities for a second-use. The depths of “the Pit” contain everything from socks with tags still on to spilt soy sauce. It’s a messy task and sometimes we worry about the health of our social lives- but someone’s got to do it.

~ merissa (scrubbing pots and pans till her hands bleed) - campus sustainability coordinator
photo credit - alex forest

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