It’s getting to be that time: A lonely mattress or two left out in the rain soon will blossom into a forest of other furniture – and other household items – left abandoned by students and other folks who must move away from Corvallis at the end of the academic year.
It doesn’t have to be that way. Many of the items that we often find waiting for someone – anyone – to cart them away or, perhaps, simply set ablaze could well find second lives in households that could use, say, a mattress in reasonable shape or a couch.
At Oregon State University, campus recyclers have done amazing work convincing dormitory residents to recycle goods that otherwise would have gone to the trash: Last year, reports the university’s Andrea Norris, workers were able to divert 18,000 pounds of material – that’s nine tons – from the landfill.
OSU’s efforts are, of course, limited to its residence halls, but Norris still has some tips for residents who might otherwise be tempted to haul out to the curb, under cover of darkness, items that could be reused.
Some organizations in the mid-valley (Furniture Share and The Arc of Benton County are two excellent examples) might be able to accept items that are still in reasonably good shape. Even better, they have the resources to help haul away larger items, a frequent roadblock for students. You can find more information about those organizations on their websites: www.furnitureshare.org and www.arcbenton.org.
An essential guide for reuse of items is the ReUse Directory sponsored by the Corvallis Sustainability Coalition and compiled by volunteers who do plenty of legwork to find out which organizations and businesses will accept what sorts of items. Just point your browser to this website: http://sustainablecorvallis.org/action-teams/waste-prevention/corvallis-area-reuse-directory/
Meanwhile, at OSU, Norris says the goal for this year is to shatter last year’s mark and hit 10 tons. The recovered goods are donated to an array of organizations that this year includes the Cat’s Meow Thrift Shop and the OSU Folk Club Thrift Shop. Nonperishable food items and sealed toiletries are donated to Linn Benton Food Share. Some of the recycled material is sold at OSU’s surplus store, and money raised goes to offset some of the expenses of the recycling program.
It all makes sense. And it makes a lot more sense to find a new home for a gently used sofa than to leave it sitting in the rain on the front lawn. A little bit of planning and a couple of phone calls over the next month could easily make a lot of difference – for Corvallis neighborhoods and for our residents in need.