PreCycle, FreeCycle, Recycle!

Monday, June 03, 2013

Recycled art depicking french fries and condiments

A lot of things have been happening at uOttawa over the past month in the world of Recycling. I thought I would give you a quick update.

The Dump and Run has finally come to a close. All the donations have been collected, weighed, and sent to the the Free Store for storage. A good chunk of the donations were sent off to local charities to help replenish their shelves (over 1,500 kilograms actually). We are hoping to finish this year with 4,000 kilograms of stuff collected from the residences.

This year was a tremendous success for the Dump and Run thanks in large part to our wonderful volunteers. Over 50 people came out to volunteer and work with us. Without their help cleaning, sorting, weighing, moving, packaging, and singing, I am not sure we would have been able to accomplish even a fraction of what we got done. Bravo volunteers, you have turned this pile of dirt into a garden.

Of course the focus will now be shifted over to the Free Store, which is closed during the summer and is set to reopen in the Fall. This year was our first go at a permanent space for the beloved Fee Store program, which helps redistribute donations from the Dump and Run to the campus community (with a strong emphasis on the International Students who arrive at the beginning of the fall semester).

We ran into a little problem this past semester when our washing machine broke down. But the sustainability gods were smiling on us as we were able to get a new commercial washer and dryer (even better than what we had before). These machines will allow us to continue to wash all the donations that come our way.

But of course we need volunteers! The Free Store is packed to the brim and we would like to start setting up the space for the fall rush. Last year we conducted a sustainability literacy survey and found out that only 4% of the campus population knew about the Free Store. This year's survey saw that number jump up to 35%. If this is any indication of what to expect for the Fall.... we need to start getting our act together now.

One other thing that I thought was worth mentioning was the success of the furniture recycling program for the month of May. The official numbers came in and we were able to reuse $130,000 worth of furniture on campus! This is a personal best for the office and we are super happy that we are able to reuse furniture rather then send it to landfill.

Sure this is a lot of progress but we still have a long way to go before we reach our recycling goal of ZERO waste going to landfill by 2020. We could seriously use some help if you could spare some time during the summer. Contact jcoo2@uottawa.ca if you are interested in volunteering. You can also check out our Facebook page to see some of the pictures from this year's Dump and Run.

~ jon - cmapus sustainability manager
photo credit - jonathan rausseo

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