'Don't Trash It!' effort benefits community partners

An annual campaign coordinated by the Office of Sustainability diverted thousands of usable furnishings and food from landfills this spring and into the coffers of regional charities that help people in need.

More than five tons of clothing and housewares were collected in May as part of a “Don’t Trash It!” campaign that encouraged students to donate possessions rather than discard them as they moved away from campus at the end of the semester.

An additional 13 truckloads of furniture, 700 pounds of bedding and 1,300 pounds of food were also collected. Donations went to Goodwill, Habitat for Humanity, Hospice of Alamance & Caswell, First Presbyterian Church and Allied Churches.

“There is no adequate way to say thank you for organizing and allowing us to collect donations from Elon’s campus this year,” representatives of Hospice of Alamance-Caswell wrote in a note to the university. “The donations we receive from our community are a tremendous blessing and make a significant difference to our store as we try to generate money for the Hospice Home.”

More donations were collected in 2015 than in 2014 due in part to an improvement in collection processes, organizers said.

“This is a great way to keep items out of the landfill, decrease Elon’s greenhouse gas emissions and positively impact the surrounding community,” said Jessica Bilecki, sustainability education and outreach coordinator, who coordinated the campaign this year.

The “Don’t Trash It!” campaign was created in 2008 by the Truitt Center for Religious and Spiritual Life and is currently coordinated by the Office of Sustainability in partnership with community agencies, Residence Life, Greek Life, Kernodle Center for Service Learning and Community Engagement, and Environmental Services.