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Ohio State recyclers sell trash to help environment, students

Thomas Doohan / Lantern reporter

At Ohio State, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.
The Students for Recycling’s ninth Dump and Run event was held Friday at Jesse Owens North and provided a place to purchase student-donated items from the previous school year at a low price.
Alex Clark, fundraising chair for Dump and Run and a second-year in biomedical engineering, said waste reduction is at the heart of the event.
“The event is important because it encourages students not to throw out all of the things they don’t need anymore at the end of the year, but instead sell it back to students for a very low cost,” Clark said. “It keeps tons and tons of garbage from filling our landfills, and it provides utility to the next generation of students.”
Matilde Sanchez, a second-year Ph.D. student in biostatistics, is one person who helped keep a few things out of the landfill. She said she came to Dump and Run because it was an easy, affordable way to purchase the things she needs. Like many other college students, she said she is on a very tight budget and things like Dump and Run help her buy things she wouldn’t normally be able to afford.
“The best thing I found was a foot massager,” Sanchez said.
Clark said the low prices are what inspired him to get involved last year.
“The cashier asked me for $5 for everything. That’s when I realized that the sale was all about getting people to reuse as much as they could, not about making a large profit,” Clark said. “I ended up convincing the cashier to take $8 – the climbing shoes themselves could’ve been worth $40 in their condition … By the next week I had joined the club who hosted the event.”
Some in the organization said watching people wait in line to get the things they really want is the best part of the event.
“They rush in and quickly claim which couch, table, desk or chair they want,” said Tricia Evans, Dump and Run’s co-marketing chair and a third-year in environmental policy & decision-making. “It kind of reminds me of eager fans rushing in to claim the best seats for a Harry Potter movie.”
Those in the organization liked other things about the event too.
“My favorite part about Dump and Run is seeing some of the cool items people have donated,” said Evan Boylan, head chair of the event and a fourth-year in anthropology and geography.
The donation Boylan thought was the coolest was a movie poster for the film “2012” that a fraternity purchased to hang in its house. Clark said his favorite item donated was a pair of medical crutches.
“We didn’t expect a whole lot of interest for them, but then a girl came in who was going to have leg surgery the following day. Just being able to provide her a much cheaper alternative for crutches was very rewarding,” Clark said.
However, the work that goes into organizing the event isn’t all fun.
“My least favorite thing about it is sorting through the collection bins,” Boylan said. “There is some nasty stuff. People donate underwear that has been used, used pillows and just stuff that’s gone through the gauntlet.”
He said sorting through donated items takes more than 200 volunteers and countless man hours.
Even though the event gave new life to some would-be trash, students in the organization said they believe they can do better by getting more off-campus students to participate.
“Next year we hope to have at least one off-campus pick up for larger items, such as couches and tables,” Evans said.
The collection for Dump and Run starts at the end of every academic year, when Students for Recycling places collection bins outside residence halls as students move out.
Boylan said the event is well worth the work that goes into making it possible.
“You have to try not to put as much in the trash can,” Boylan said, as sweat poured from his face.
This year, the group donated a portion of its profits to the Mid-Ohio Foodbank.

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