Trash to Treasures for Food Banks and Non-Profits
By Jody Record, Campus Journal Editor
May 23, 2007
Discarded clothing stacks up in Williamson Hall.
When students moved out of their dorms in the spring of 2006, they left
behind between 200 and 300 bags of clothing and more than 3,000 pounds
of unopened food. From the looks of the piles that were stacking up in
Williamson Hall last week, those numbers will be matched again this year.
But the cast-offs don’t go to waste, thanks to UNH RENU (Recycling
Everything New and Used), an end-of-the-year recycling program run by
volunteers that redistributes unwanted items to organizations that help
Now in its 5th year, RENU’s goals are two-fold, says Brian O’Donnell,
a graduate student who co-coordinated this year’s collections with
junior Liz Joseph.
“It’s to keep people from just throwing stuff out and to
get what they don’t want into the hands of people that really need
it,” O’Donnell said.
The effort started a few days before move-out when RENU volunteers placed
two boxes in the lounge of each dorm, one for clothes and one for unopened,
nonperishable food. Flyers were given to the hall directors to pass out
or post. The collection boxes were put in place on May 3. Thrice-weekly
pickups were made through May 21. It took about 10 volunteers a day to
empty the boxes.
UNH RENU co-coordinator Brian O'Donnell sorts food left behind by students
who moved out of their dorms last week.
All of the discarded items were then taken to Williamson where volunteers
separated the clothing into categories: men’s, women’s, shoes,
towels, linens and blankets. Any opened or perishable food was tossed.
O’Donnell estimated the surplus clothing amounts to four or five
articles per student living on campus. All of the items will be donated
to local organizations like Cornucopia, the Waysmeet Center, Operation
Blessing, Goodwill and Crossroads House.
“We’d like to be able to expand to furniture,” O’Donnell
said. “It takes a lot of volunteers. The hardest part is coordinating
For more information on recycling and sustainable living visit http://www.sustainableunh.unh.edu.