‘Don’t Trash It!’ donation program aims to reduce waste as students move out

The program, which is run by the Office of Sustainability, runs May 12 through May 31.

As students begin to prepare to leave campus for the summer, they may find items they no longer have use for. Luckily, there is an opportunity for students, faculty and staff to donate their items instead of throwing them away. “Don’t Trash It!,” Elon’s end-of-year move-out waste reduction program, starts on May 12 and concludes on May 31.

“Last year, Elon students, faculty and staff donated over 11 tons of items and 20 truckloads of furniture to Habitat to Humanity,” said Assistant Director of Sustainability for Education and Outreach Kelly Harer. “Since 2014, we’ve donated over 62 tons of food, clothing, bedding and household items and 110 truckloads of furniture to local community partners.”

Anyone can donate unopened nonperishable food, furniture in good condition, clean sheets, blankets and comforters, clean clothing, operable electronics and housewares.

Habitat for Humanity and Goodwill trucks will be parked in various locations throughout campus to accept donations. The trucks will be open from approximately 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 pm.

The program began out of the Truitt Center for Religious and Spiritual life in 2008 and was taken over by the Office of Sustainability in 2014. They partner with Residence Life, Kernodle Center for Civic Life, Goodwill, Habitat for Humanity, Allied Churches of Alamance County, First Presbyterian Church, Salvation Army, Environmental Services and volunteers.

The items donated will have a substantial impact on the Elon community. Through “Don’t Trash It!,” the Office of Sustainability is able to partner with the Furniture Ministries of First Presbyterian Church to annually provide over 100 linen sets to people in Alamance County. In 2021, the Furniture Ministries program assisted 125 families with 182 children total.

“Beyond the impact on the community, we’re also keeping all of this stuff out of the landfill, which is really important as well,” said Harer. “When items end up in a landfill, as they break down, they create powerful greenhouse gasses which exacerbate the climate crisis.”

Through volunteering their time or donating items, Harer encourages the entire Elon community to participate in the program.

“It doesn’t take much effort to truly make a difference,” said Harer.

Anyone interested in volunteering can sign up here. Volunteers receive a free t-shirt and water bottle.