Old Furniture Finds New Home in Haiti
By Jody Record, Campus Journal Editor
September 5, 2007
They might not know it but UNH students who would have been living in
the Sackett and Woodruff mini-dorms or in Fairchild Hall on Main Street have a connection
Sackett and Woodruff were torn down to make way for the southeast residential
community off McDaniel Drive. Fairchild is undergoing major renovations.
The old furniture from the three residence halls has been collected by
the Institution Recycling Network (IRN) in Concord and sent to Haiti, where
it will be reused in classrooms, orphanages, and even individual residences.
The IRN works with colleges and universities, hospitals, nursing homes,
public and private schools and school districts to find new uses for everything
from surplus furniture to old computers to fluorescent floor lamps. Last
winter, representatives of the group stopped by UNH’s Facilities
Design and Construction office to introduce themselves and explain their
When the time came to dispose of the bureaus, desks and bed frames that
were being removed from the three residence halls, Stephen Luber, manager
of Housing Facilities and Operations, suggested using IRN to find another
home for the furniture that, otherwise, would have been thrown out.
“The majority of this furniture, although well-used and even somewhat
abused, remained relatively serviceable but, frankly, not enough so for
re-use in a new UNH dorm,” says Rich Rouleau, project manager for
It was originally thought that this furniture would be demolished and
disposed of as part of the building demolition. Instead, five 8-foot by
8-foot by 40-foot shipping containers filled with 900 pieces of furniture
(wood bureaus, desks, dressers, bed frames and mattresses) and weighing
more than 43 tons was set to Haiti’s Community Center refurbishment
project in Port-Au-Prince.
“Finding another useful purpose for the residence hall furniture
is serving us all in a more productive and positive manner than if it had
ended up in one of our local landfills,” says Luber.
The recycling effort cost UNH just under $20,000, which was paid out of
the construction project budgets. This works out to about 23 cents per
pound, which is only marginally more than it would have cost to send it
to a landfill.
“UNH does a good job with its program (UNH RENU - Recycling Everything
New and Used) that recycles things left in dorms at the end of the year
and this is a nice complement to that,” says Mark Lennon of IRN. “Schools
and universities aren’t really set up to recycle a whole lot of furniture.
These are the kinds of connections we are able to make.”