The University Record, May 10, 1993

Move-Out generates 30 tons of wood, food, clothing and furniture

By Erica M. Spiegel
Plant Grounds and Waste Management

Ramen noodles, instant oatmeal, old sweaters, socks, toaster ovens, soap, canned spaghetti and carpets. These are just some of the items typically left behind during Student Move-Out.

Now in its fourth year, the Move-Out effort keeps getting better. What started out as a student-initiated volunteer pilot program has become a major undertaking by Plant Grounds and Waste Management and Housing Facilities staff.

This year’s operation garnered nearly 160 tons of trash, recyclables and re-usable items from 15 residence halls. Thirty tons—almost 19 percent—were diverted from landfills.

Prior to Move-Out Week, waste management staff delivered boxes to lobby areas and lounges for food, toiletries, clothing and household items. As the boxes filled, Housing Division staff transported the materials to building loading docks. Waste management staff made twice-per-day pickups, taking the goods to the North Campus Service Garage for storage. From there, numerous community agencies and charitable organizations were able to collect the donated items. More than 13,000 pounds of donated items were collected during the five-day effort.

Students were asked to place bulky items such as carpets, loft wood and furniture in a specific outdoor location. These items also were then available to charitable organizations and for “scavenging” by the public.

One agency was able to recover 40 usable carpets. An undetermined amount of loft wood, carpeting and furniture was salvaged by other agencies and the public. Eleven cubic yards of loft wood also were recovered to be turned into chips and then used for landscaping or as industrial furnace fuel. All the remaining bulky debris, about 72 cubic yards, was picked up for landfill disposal.

The food and toiletries will benefit hungry people throughout Washtenaw County. The 2,500 pounds of food will be shared among several agencies, including the Shelter Association of Ann Arbor, Food Gatherers, Ozone House and Safe House. Even packages of food that had been opened—and therefore not acceptable to agencies that feed people—were put to good use by an organization that rehabilitates and feeds injured wildlife.

Clothing weighing almost 10,000 pounds and filling 366 bags also was left behind. Bathrobes, blankets, slippers and night clothes will be used by Ann Arbor’s homeless shelter, which accommodates 40 persons per night. Remaining clothing was donated to the Military Order of the Purple Heart Service Foundation Inc.

Household items ranging from popcorn poppers to coffee mugs were donated to the Prospect Place Family Shelter, an Ypsilanti-based agency that helps homeless women get a new start in households of their own. Prospect Place also received 76 bags of returnable bottles and cans. Volunteers will sort them and turn them in for their redemption value.

Last year, the Move-Out effort garnered 10,177 containers; proceeds were donated to the shelter. The contribution was recognized by the shelter April 25 with presentation of a Special Appreciation Award to Grounds and Waste Management.

Another special feature of Move-Out is the collection of lower grade mixed office paper. A total of 12.3 tons were recycled during Move-Out week, along with 3.2 tons of corrugated cardboard and 2.3 tons of newspapers.

The official Move-Out effort continues through May 15 to accommodate the schedules of Law Quad residents and graduate students in Baits.