Colby-Sawyer Students Combat Waste with Annual Sale

Students in the Sustainability Core Club at Colby-Sawyer College, a comprehensive college that integrates the liberal arts and sciences with professional preparation, took on the throwaway culture by salvaging items discarded last spring and selling them back to students at the second annual ReChargers Resale on Sept. 7.

The sale diverted from landfills more than 20 truck loads worth of everything from clothing and nail polish to storage units, kitchen and school supplies, and mini fridges.

At the end of every school year, students abandon useful items at dumpsters stationed around campus. Director of Sustainability and Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies Jennifer White '90 calls this increase in waste the “May Spike.” Last May, the students salvaged items in good condition and stored them over the summer.

Ashley Cooper ’16, a business administration major from Corpus Christi, Texas, led the initiative. “While we were collecting, I heard so many stories from staff members of years past when each dumpster on move-out day used to overflow with items still in working condition,” she says. “That's our job here as ReChargers: To ensure that the least amount of items from Colby-Sawyer go into landfills.”

ReChargers raised enough money from the sale to offset the cost of storage. The remaining proceeds will fund ReCharger activities throughout the year.

Cooper says the student body has indicated interest in purchasing from the ReChargers next year, when she hopes the group will be able to hold a two-day sale.

In 2014, the Boston Globe recognized student-run efforts to reduce landfill waste at Colby-Sawyer and other campuses.