May 3, 2001

Program Reduces Waste in C-town

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As students depart Ithaca for the summer, they will literally leave behind tons of new or almost-new clothing, food and other items that local residents can reuse.

In addition to other recycling efforts, the newly created Student Recycling Program provides students — especially those in non-University housing — a means to minimize unnecessary waste.

“Local Ithaca residents often note how much is thrown away by students,” said Daniella Leifer ’00, co-coordinator of the program.

Other co-coordinator Paul Glover noted that, “many of the items left behind by students can be used and enjoyed by hundreds or thousands of Ithaca residents.”

The program collects goods by having students call program volunteers to pick up unwanted items or students can create their own boxes of goods that are marked for volunteers to retrieve.

These items include food in unopened containers, unused soap, clothing, bicycles, sports equipment and books.

The program will initially target Collegetown students but will still accept donations from students living everywhere.

“Logistically, it’s easier to start in Collegetown and then expand in the coming years,” Leifer said. “This is just our first run, so hopefully it will get people excited about the recycling program.”

After the collection period, which is the week following commencement ceremonies, most of the goods will either be sold or given away at an extensive “garage sale,” donating the proceeds to the Ithaca Health Fund, according to Leifer.

Items not at the garage sale, such as bikes and computers, will be given to local groups for restoration before being donated to local residents.

The Computer All-Stars Program, run jointly by the Ithaca Youth Bureau and the Cornell-Ithaca Partnership, is one example of a restoration effort that receives computers from the University, local businesses and individual students.

Local adolescents, ages 10 to 19 years old, repair and restore these computers that are eventually given to low-income families, said Computer All-Star coordinator Susan Longest ’03.

Glover said he expects large amounts of computers as well as other items.

“You could probably fill Barton Hall with all the stuff [we will receive],” Glover said.

The program has not yet found space large enough to store the expected amount of goods, although storage is vital to the recycling efforts.

“The scope of the collection depends entirely on the scale of our storage capability,” Glover noted.

The University has already helped organize its own collection efforts over the past decade with collection bins around campus, in all residence halls and in the community centers.

Graduating students have also formed informal circles to recycle goods that they cannot take with them this summer.

“Most of my friends who are graduating this year are giving many items to their friends who will return next year,” said Frank Luh ’02. “[Nevertheless], I think this program is a great opportunity to give back to the community.”

Anyone interested in helping the volunteer effort or who has unwanted goods to donate can reach the program through Daniella Leifer at 277-8097.

Archived article by Peter Lin