UNH Students Turn Trash to Treasure at Massive Yard Sale Aug. 24 – 26, 2012

UNH Students Turn Trash to Treasure at Massive Yard Sale Aug. 24 – 26, 2012

Thursday, August 23, 2012

UNH Trash2Treasure yard sale

Incoming students sought bargains during move-in weekend 2011 at the first-ever Trash 2 Treasure yard sale at UNH.

This coming weekend, University of New Hampshire students will host the second annual Trash 2 Treasure yard sale, where incoming first-years and returning students can furnish their rooms and apartments on the cheap and help the environment. The initiative, founded by students in 2010, is the first program of its kind in the country that is both student-led and self-sustaining. This past May, the group collected more than 15,000 items discarded by students moving out for the summer; they will sell them at a huge three-day yard sale on the UNH campus during student move-in weekend.

Trash 2 Treasure yard sale

  • Friday, Aug. 24 - Sunday Aug. 26, 2012, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. (UNH move-in weekend)
  • Friday morning early-bird special: Doors open at 8am for $5 dollars.
  • Indoor Track, UNH Field House. 145 Main Street, Durham
  • More than 15,000 items of electronics, furniture, rugs, kitchen, school and cleaning supplies, decorative accessories, clothing, and more.
  • Parking is extremely limited; shoppers are encouraged not to drive and a pick-up/delivery service for larger items will be available for a small fee.

Trash 2 Treasure organizers, from left, Lauren Banker '13, Erica Vazza '14, Emily Spognardi '14 and Alex Freid '13

The UNH T2T program has been developing since May 2010. Over the course of the first year the students fund-raised close to $10,000 for seed money to start the program, which went towards rental trucks, storage fees, yard-sale facility fees, and advertising costs. As a result, the group filled six storage locations, including four 45-foot rented trailers. They collected more than 1000 furniture items, more than 1000 electronics, and more than 400 30-gallon trash bags of clothing. They also donated more than 100 30-gallon trash bags full of food to local food pantries and recycled over 100 broken electronics. In total, they salvaged more than 57,000 pounds from the waste stream and saved the university almost $4,000 in disposal costs. At their first sale in August 2011 the group raised about $12,000, effectively creating a self-sustaining program, as those funds went towards running the program again this year.

The UNH Trash2Treasure yard sale

Shower caddies, bed risers and trash cans were among the bargain-priced essentials for sale at the first-ever Trash 2 Treasure yard sale during move-in weekend.

“If T2T had not stepped in, all of these perfectly reusable college dorm and apartment accessories would have gone directly into a landfill,” says UNH senior Alex Freid, founder of the program. “It’s our hope that the sale will encourage students to think sustainably about the purchases they make and to open their eyes to just how much stuff we really throw away.”

The success of the program garnered local and national attention with articles in local newspapers, magazines, and USA Today. Freid received the prestigious Udall Foundation Scholarship for his work in setting up the program, and the group won “Program of the Year” through UNH’s Leadership Office and was a top finalist for the “Most Influential College Organization” category of the International Classy Awards out of 2400 nominations.

As the program continues to expand, the organizers are beginning to explore the possibility of spreading the program elsewhere with the excess revenues generated by the program at UNH. “The model we have created can be replicated at any University across the country,” says Emily Spognardi, a junior and the head organizer of this year’s program.