Monday, June 11, 2007

My Letter To the Editor: Promote reuse options to decrease waste

Promote reuse options to decrease waste
Published in the Burlington Free Press, Sunday June 10th

All across the country, communities surrounding colleges and universities suffer from increased "waste" this time of year. Much of the waste is perfectly usable items: couches, books, clothing, and more. Having just moved to Burlington -- and being a scavenger at heart -- I happily furnished my apartment with discarded items on curbs near UVM throughout May. While many items on the street can find new homes quickly, countless others are literally trashed -- either in dumpsters, toters, or garbage bags -- or sit out on the curb through poor weather rendering them unappealing.

I applaud the Spring Move Out Project held on May 25 on Loomis Street, a collaborative effort by the City of Burlington, ReCycle North, area schools, and more. While this event was well-attended both by those moving out and others coming to scavenge, the volume of discards on surrounding streets even on that day indicates that many either didn't know about the event, were unable to attend, or didn't feel compelled to attend.

Burlington is lucky to have many resources for reuse -- from ReCycle North, Junktiques, Salvation Army, and others -- in addition to online resources such as Craigslist and, my personal favorite, Freecycle. Freecycle is a Web-based materials exchange where items are offered for free, truly living up to its motto: "where one person's trash is another person's treasure." My hope is that Burlington will continue to promote reuse options to residents and especially to students, so that discarded usable goods will always be guaranteed new homes.


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