How You Can Reduce End of Semester Waste

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 have the responsibility to address our faults, and find alternative ways to reduce the waste we generate at the end of the semester.

As everyone rushes to leave for the summer and you start noticing the overflowing trash cans lining your hall, consider the ways in which 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 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 that are 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 are collecting 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 – Storing your goods could be another option. Not only does it make moving easier, it’s also more sustainable than throwing everything away and starting from scratch. Many schools offer storage, however, if you’re 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 are great places to post your unused items. Not only do you make some money, you’ll be guaranteeing those items get a second life.

We hope these tips give you some insight into new ways that you can 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 themselves on being very eco-friendly and refuses to waste anything unnecessary. Get covered by GradGuard today by visiting our website.