Published June 28, 2022
After a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, UBReUSE was back for the spring semester, and the efforts of the student-run initiative were more successful than ever.
The program, which collects and recycles items that students no longer want when they move out of their housing at the end of the spring semester in May, diverted 3.7 tons (7,348 lbs.) of items that likely would have ended up in a landfill. That’s substantially more than the 3.5 tons of waste diverted in 2019.
“UBReUSE made a very successful comeback and expansion after a two-year hiatus that occurred due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Matthew Taboni, student coordinator for UBReUSE. “Over the five days, our team of volunteers came with excitement and lots of energy that was needed to divert the 3.7 tons of materials that were saved from the landfill during move-out weekend.”
In addition to members of UBReUSE, volunteers this year included members of the Food Recovery Network; Alpha Kappa Chi, the coed environmental fraternity on campus; and the Outdoor Adventure Club, among others.
Taboni says expanding the program to residence halls and apartments beyond the Ellicott Complex helped to increase the amount of waste diverted. “This year, our program expanded from Ellicott to include Governors, Goodyear and the apartment complexes to make larger impacts on our waste-diversion efforts and include the entire campus community on the initiative.”
Taboni hopes to further expand the program on the South Campus next year.
Supported by UB Sustainability and Campus Living, UBReUSE begins its work during move-out week in May. This year, the group rented 96-gallon containers and placed them in several residence halls and apartments around campus to collect departing students’ unwanted goods. When a bin was full, a student volunteer took it to UBReUSE headquarters in Greiner Hall, where the contents were weighed and sorted. Items that are reusable are sold at the program’s move-in sale in August.
Proceeds from the sale, aimed at students looking to furnish their rooms in residence halls and apartments, go back to support the waste-diversion program.
“Each year, UBReUse collects several tons of donations, and that was something I was really curious to see,” say student volunteer Sammy Zyla. “The concept is amazing because certain products (like fans) are passed down from student to student, which allows them to be used for much longer.”
UBReUSE has scheduled its fall 2022 move-in sale for Aug. 25-27. Volunteers are needed for planning and setup starting Aug. 24.