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Campus & Community

Refuse Reborn

Trash to Treasure Program Collects Estimated 25 Tons of Recyclable, Reusable Goods

By Liam Farrell

trash gif

Animation and infographic Matt Laumann

Animation and infographic Matt Laumann

It’s the UMD program that gives annual support to the cliché: A student’s trash can, in fact, be someone else’s treasure.

The Trash to Treasure drive is held each May as Terps recover from final exams, find themselves under a deadline to move out of their residence halls and fight the temptation to toss all their worldly possessions into a dumpster. This month, the final numbers came in: The 2019 program collected an estimated 25 tons of goods to be reused or recycled, compared to a haul in the neighborhood of 15 tons last year.

The Department of Resident Life—working with Dining Services, the Department of Transportation Services, University Libraries, Facilities Management, the Department of Residential Facilities and the Office of Sustainability—establishes indoor and outdoor collection points for non-perishable food, clothes, appliances and other items. They’re then recycled or sent to families in the Washington, D.C., area through charitable donation company GreenDrop and the American Red Cross.

“It’s been really a successful program in reducing the amount of trash collected at the end of the school year,” said Damien Franze, manager of student and community development programs. “The biggest benefit is the service it provides to local families.”

Here are some numbers from the 2019 edition.

Trash to treasure infographic

Schools & Departments:

Department of Resident Life

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