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Pilot Recycling Program By U.Va. And Woodard Properties Will Give Second Life To Student Castoffs And Benefit Goodwill

May 27, 2004 -- Students’ furniture may live on after they are gone.

This week, University students living off-Grounds in Woodard Properties’ apartments can recycle furniture, small appliances and clothing for the benefit of Goodwill Industries. The U.Va. Community Relations Office will team with Woodard Properties and Goodwill to collect castoffs on Friday as students move out.

“Donations can range from house wares to clothing to furniture,” said Ida Lee Wootten, director of the Community Relations Office. “The only thing they cannot pick up are mattresses and large appliances.”

Goodwill will sell the donations through its local store at 1242 Richmond Road, with the proceeds going to support its mission of work-training and helping people with disabilities achieve independence.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for us,” said April W. Jensen, vice president of the Northern Division for Goodwill. While she cannot predict what will be collected, she said the store needs dining room furniture, couches, house wares and clothing.

Woodard Properties is setting aside space at 304 14th Street as a central drop-off point for the 150 students leaving its apartments as their leases expire at the end of the month, according to manager Joy K. Waring. Additional space is available at that address for spillover.

“Anything they drop off would be wonderful,” said Wootten, who modeled the pilot off-Grounds recycling program after a seven-year-old, on-Grounds effort called “Chuck It for Charity.”

During the annual “Chuck It” event, U.Va.’s Division of Recoverable and Disposable Resources collects about 70 tons of material from students as they leave University housing. Furniture, carpet, lumber, cinder blocks, stereos, television sets, fans and clothing are turned over to local charities, saving the University about $7,000 in disposal costs, according to Dennis L. Clark, division director. On May 8, this year’s undergraduate move-out day, 57 tons of trash were collected, aside from the recycled material.

It is difficult to determine how many students participate in the on-Grounds program.

“Everybody on Grounds has potential to put something in,” Clark said. “There is a lot of stuff.”

“It’s a win-win situation, because it saves the University money, it helps the students leave items and it helps the community non-profits,” Wootten said of the “Chuck It” program.

Similarly, this week’s off-Grounds pilot program can save overhead and hassle for Woodard Properties, which pays $150 twice a year to collect and discard abandoned items, as well as pursue the former tenants who leave things behind. It also can help neighborhood relations, since discarded furniture is sometimes left in unsightly curbside heaps.

“It’s been fairly minimal in previous years,” said Waring. “Sometimes there would be something by the Dumpster, or something left on the front porch, but it would be only a few items each year.”

Wootten has seen furniture discarded in nearby streams or plugging culverts, so recycling can also benefit the environment, she said.

Participants are already planning the program’s future.

“If this is a success, we can do it again in August,” Waring said. About 250 students move out then, when their leases expire. “This [week] will be the real trial run. We can see the results, and see what we need to do in August.”

Contact: Matt Kelly, (434) 924-7291

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Contact the Office of University Relations at (434) 924-7116. Television reporters should contact the TV News Office at (434) 924-7550.

SOURCE: U.Va. News Services


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