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August 18. 2013 11:31PM

UNH yard sale a benefit for students, environment

DURHAM — Thousands of items destined for the dump will find new homes Friday when students at the University of New Hampshire pack the annual Trash 2 Treasure yard sale.

More than 20,000 items will be up for grabs at the student-run sale held at the Whittemore Center.

Students on the hunt for stuff they need to survive the new school year will find everything from decorations and dishware to electronics, furniture, and clothing.

The sale will be held Friday, beginning at 8 a.m. for an early entry fee of $5. Doors open to all at 9 a.m. and close at 5 p.m. The sale will continue on Aug. 24 from noon to 5 p.m. and on Aug. 25 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Parking is limited so shoppers are encouraged not to drive; a pick-up/delivery service for larger items will be available for a small fee.

Alex Freid, a 2013 graduate, helped launch the program in 2011 after noticing piles of items he felt could still be used overflowing from Dumpsters as students moved out.

“I’ve always been interested in finding sustainable solutions to complex problems and we have done just that. We spent a year organizing teams of students to put various aspects of the program together, and the model we created at UNH became the first student-led, self-sustaining program of its kind in the country,” said Freid, a 22-year-old Lee resident who graduated in May and is now executive director of a nonprofit organization called PLAN: The Post-Landfill Action Network.

Freid, who formed Trash 2 Treasure with senior Emily Spognardi and UNH’s Student Environmental Action Coalition, also founded PLAN following the success of Trash 2 Treasure in an effort to spread his model.

Freid said the Trash 2 Treasure program now generates more than enough revenue to sustain itself. He said earnings from the program have also been reinvested in future sustainable initiatives on campus like electronic waste recycling programs and bike share initiatives.

Through the program, Freid said more than 100 tons of waste has been diverted from UNH’s waste stream; sales have reached more than $30,000; some 2,000 electronic items have been properly recycled; five tons of food and clothing have been given to local shelters; UNH has saved $10,000 in waste disposal costs; and students and families have saved an estimated $125,000 by selling goods at discounted prices.

This year’s sale is expected to draw approximately 8,000 students and will include nine 40-foot storage containers filled with furniture and two large dorm lounges filled with clothing, electronics and other miscellaneous items, Freid said.

The most popular items are those purchased by first-year students when the sale begins. Freid said they include bed risers, shower caddies, small refrigerators and microwaves.

Fun decorations, posters, and old advertisements for food and drinks are also hot items.

While the sale is one way for students to save, Freid hopes they also understand the message behind the program.

“We hope to engender life-long sustainable living practices in today’s students. By actively participating in waste reduction programs in campus communities, we hope that students will see and understand the value of reusing items when possible, and recycling all else when necessary,” Freid said. “Many students throw things away because there are no easily accessible alternatives out there other than the Dumpster.”

Junior Sophie Rathjen, a 20-year-old student from Bermuda who’s coordinating this year’s sale, said she hopes students will leave the sale with a better awareness of the waste generated and the alternatives to the landfill that are available.

For more information on Trash 2 Treasure and PLAN, visit www.postlandfill.org.

jschreiber@newstote.com


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