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How You Can Reduce End of Semester Waste

July 5, 2018

Whether you’re still attending college or recently graduated, chances are you’ve seen and possibly contributed to the trash generated by students leaving for the summer months. From uneaten food and unused school supplies to textiles and even furniture, the average college student generates 640 pounds of waste annually, the bulk of which is accumulated upon move-out day.

However, as humans of the Earth, we are responsible for addressing our faults and finding alternative ways to reduce the waste we generate at the end of the semester.

Moving Out of Your Dorm

As everyone rushes to leave for the summer and you start noticing the overflowing trash cans lining your hall, consider how you can avoid contributing your unused items to the pile.

Giving your used textbooks, school supplies, clothing, and furniture a second life is a great way to reduce waste, keep them out of landfills, and potentially earn you money in the process. Although it’s nice to start fresh with brand new decor, clothing, and furniture, chances are the items you’d be throwing away could have been stored, donated, sold, or recycled. So, to put an end to this cycle, we’re sharing strategies you can use to collect fewer items and contribute less to the end-of-semester waste pile.

Practice Minimalism

Adopting a minimalist lifestyle in college is becoming increasingly popular among individuals interested in reducing their consumption, waste production, and overall dependence on items. Keeping items essential to college life, and disposing of duplicate or unused items, allows individuals to become organized and efficient.

Purchasing less with more intent is a great strategy and can be easily applied to many different aspects of your life. Take your wardrobe, for example: instead of buying many new items each semester, consider investing in more durable, sustainably-made textiles from manufacturers like Pact that produce durable and transitional apparel, opposed to conventionally produced fast-fashion textiles that don’t last.  

Donate or Recycle

Many student-led organizations within the academic community collect new and unused items from students clearing their dorms. The sustainable move-out program, successfully adopted by The George Washington University in Washington D.C., managed to eliminate 50,000 pounds of food, clothing, school supplies, textiles, and furniture from being sent to the landfill.

Instead, the collected goods were donated to local charitable organizations within the greater Washington D.C. area. However, if your school doesn’t have a program like this, suggest one.

Either way, by donating or recycling your unwanted or unused goods a week in advance before you move out, you’ll not only beat the rush, but you’ll also be doing your part to help reduce end-of-semester waste!

Store or Sell

If possible, storing your goods is another option. Not only does it make moving more manageable, but it’s also more sustainable than throwing everything away and starting from scratch. Many schools offer storage; however, if your friends are local, you could always ask if they’d be willing to store your items over the summer.

When it comes to things like textbooks and large furniture, try selling them through online forums, social media, or even school bulletin boards. They are also great places to post unused items you have no use for. Not only can you make some money, but you’ll give those items a second life.

We hope these tips provide insight into new ways to reduce your waste at the end of the semester and, of course, don’t forget to get the proper renters and tuition insurance through GradGuard!

GradGuard prides itself on being very eco-friendly and refuses to waste anything unnecessary. Get covered by GradGuard today by visiting our website.

Update in March 2022

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