Yale College Council Initiatives Reconsider Student Waste

Coffee tables, formerly forsaken by exiting students and collected through Yale's Spring Salvage Program, will be resold to students through the Yale College Council's Trash to Treasure Initiative, to be launched at the end of this school year.
February 8, 2013
This May, expect New Haven’s curbsides to be significantly clearer as Yale student move out of their dorms. In an exciting step for students with both sustainability and self-interest in mind, the student-run Yale College Council (YCC) announced, in a February email newsletter, that it will put its first $10K Initiative towards funding a slew of projects aimed at decreasing waste among students.

The YCC Summer Storage and Trash to Treasure initiatives target the considerable waste that has traditionally accumulated in streets and courtyards as students move between dormitories and summer plans, and struggle to find space for foot stools, Halloween costumes, standing lamps, Ikea pillows, and impulse-buys from the school year. The Spring Salvage Program, run by the Yale Recycling Office, has been instrumental in making sure that deserted items are redirected to other communities, but couldn’t help students avoid repurchasing similar articles each year. Now, however, students will have the option of storing items on Yale’s West Campus for a small fee, with transportation arranged, so as to avoid recurring, start-of-semester trips to buy bookshelves and bins.

Through the Trash to Treasure program, items that do end up at the edge of the street or piled in college courtyards, will be collected, stored in West Campus as well, and resold in a giant “Campus Yard Sale” once students return ready to furnish their rooms. Both initiatives are expected to give students substantial savings, and will ensure that most of the usable waste that normally gathers at the end of the semester—just over 45 tons each year—remains and is used well within the Yale community.

A third project funded by this year’s $10K Initiative will be the free rental of “Hydration Stations,” available to student groups hosting outdoor events. Large coolers that can be attached to any outdoor spigot, Hydration stations will replace bottled water and ensure that students are well-hydrated with cold, filtered water. “Think Outside the Bottle,” a student group focused on decreasing bottled water consumption, will be responsible for the management of the hydration stations, and campaigning hard to achieve as many bottled water-less student events as possible.