Trash to Treasure to resell students' used items
From left. Sophomore Anne Bevis, freshman Margot Habets and junior Tracey Godbe pose with discarded items that Tulane Trash to Treasure will resell at discounted prices.
Students often throw away many of their belongings while moving out of their dorms, such as hangers, shower caddies, clothes, dishes, furniture, and even computers and cell phones. In an attempt to combat this waste, students launched Tulane Trash to Treasure, a program that will collect unwanted belongings at the end of the school year and sell them for low prices during move-in week.
Tulane's program is modeled after a similar one at the University of New Hampshire. UNH's program was launched in 2011 as the pilot for an expansion of Trash to Treasure conducted through the Post-Landfill Action Network. During the first three, the university diverted more than 100 tons of waste from the university's waste stream and students saved an estimated $125,000, according to UNH's Trash to Treasure Facebook page.
Sophomore Anne Bevis, founder of Tulane Trash to Treasure, said she hopes that Tulane's initiative will drastically reduce waste as well as serve as an asset to students.
"We're talking about items that are normally $200 but sold for around $30," Bevis said. "You also reduce double the waste during move in because you're not buying those extra tons that people have just thrown away."
Tulane Trash to Treasure is growing in popularity with more than 800 likes on its Facebook page. Bevis said many students have also volunteered to help with the program and to be members of the leadership team.
"Right now, our leadership team is about 10 people," Bevis said. "We are looking to expand. Our volunteer list is rapidly growing. We have about 50 right now, but we expect more people to come in."
ComeFail, a program aimed to encourage small community-oriented business ventures, sponsored a competition on Facebook. Trash to Treasure won the first round of the competition, earning $500 after receiving the most likes on its post on the ComeFail page. Bevis said the money will be used to market Trash to Treasure.
"We are finalizing the designs for our logos and, as soon as we can, we're ordering banners, flyers [and] yard signs, so people know about us on campus," Bevis said. "We're trying to promote off campus, too."
Trash to Treasure will partner with a charity and donate some of its profits to that group. Bevis said the charity has not been chosen and that the public may play a role in the decision. She said she hopes to find a charity that will benefit from the partnership and gain exposure at Tulane. Tulane Trash to Treasure may ask students for suggestions in selecting the charity.
"We're considering opening that [decision-making process] up to the public and see what students want us to donate to because it is their funds and their stuff," Bevis said. "The students are the core of this sale and this entire project, so we want it to be what they want it to be."
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