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May 19, 2003

U-M student leftovers find new homes

ANN ARBOR, Mich.—From Hula-Hoops to microwaves, ironing boards to fat-free Caesar dressing and Gerber's strained green beans—all of this was left behind when University of Michigan students left the Ann Arbor campus for summer break.

As in years past, U-M's award-winning recycling program was put into high gear during this move-out session in April and the 25,011 pounds of goods collected from campus residence halls found new homes and new uses.

Tina Smith is a volunteer with Caring Quilts that converts bedding into bedrolls for the homeless.

"This was a 37 percent increase over last year's collection," said Sarah Archer, Coordinator of Waste Management and Recycling Services for U-M's Grounds &Waste Management Services. "This was a record-breaking year."

Archer's team sorted through the collected goods, separating clothing (10,301 pounds), shoes (2,162 pounds), bedding (1,751 pounds) household goods (6,311 pounds), and food/toiletries (4,486 pounds) for distribution to various local and regional community agencies and recycling operations.

Archer's team makes sure students who either don't want to or can't take the goods home or who don't want to store them until they return to campus become fully aware that what they leave behind will be recycled or reused.

Bedding went to Caring Quilts to make bedrolls for the homeless and for warming stations. Fairy Godparents, serving as a distribution center for agencies in Washtenaw County, received household goods and furniture. A variety of items, including clothing, shoes and books went to Purple Heart. Crutches were returned to the University's Health Service and Residential Dining Services dishware were returned to the dining facilities in the residential halls. Books identified as coming from University libraries were returned to the facilities.

But there were some unusual items among the collections. "We had more real hair wigs and hair pieces this year," she said. "But this is the first time we've had a fake ficus tree and bowling shoes but no bowling balls."

Standing out among the goods separated and tied into plastic bags ready for pick-up by the participating agencies were a grinning plastic jack-o-lantern and one large rubber duckie.

Related Links:

U-M's recycling information >

Contact: Joanne Nesbit
Phone: (734) 647-4418

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