Out of the dumps

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Natalie Gawronski will stop at nothing to find new uses for perfectly good items - including Dumpster diving.

Last year, she and fellow members of Ohio State's Students for Recycling group rummaged through trash bins behind OSU dorms as part of the annual Dump and Run event.

Students are encouraged to donate unwanted items and unopened food before moving out at the end of the school year, and Gawronski was looking to save some of the things students had unwittingly thrown out. All the items were sold in a large yard sale and the food was given away.

"We got a lot of good finds," said Gawronski, a senior majoring in social work who serves as the group's president. "We found about 10 or 15 futon frames that we resold at the yard sale."

The yard sale profit, about $4,700, was divided among student groups and local charities. Gawronski said they saved about five tons of waste from piling up in a landfill and donated 300 pounds of unopened food to Mid-Ohio Foodbank.

"We were happy to see people could use that instead of it being thrown away," she said.

Students for Recycling has about 20 members and focuses on recycling efforts and education. Each year, the group puts on several different recycling programs for OSU students.

In addition to Dump and Run, there's OSU Recycles Day, in which members illustrate how much waste one person can accumulate in a month.

Local businesses show how they're environmentally friendly at the Scarlet, Gray and Green Fair on the Oval each year in October. And during the Finals Week Paper Campaign, students can unload their notes and papers from classes to be recycled.

"When people are so sick of class and never want to see their notes again, they can dump them with us," she said.

Next Friday, Students for Recycling will be part of the Campus Consciousness Tour Town Hall Forum, featuring environmental experts and a possible appearance by O.A.R. The band is a big supporter of recycling efforts, and will perform at the Newport Music Hall later that night.

At the forum, guest speakers will talk about environmentalism and the music industry, as well as the effect of climate change on the world. Tickets to the O.A.R. concert will be given away at the meeting.

Gawronski said Students for Recycling welcomes all students to their weekly Wednesday meetings, held at 6 p.m. in McPherson Chemical Lab - and Dumpster diving is not required.

"I think people think they won't have an impact," she said. "I would like people to know that you really can make a considerable difference. It doesn't take as much effort as you think."

What: Campus Consciousness Tour Town Hall Forum

When: 1 p.m. Friday, Nov. 21

Where: Ohio State Psychology Building, Campus

Web: recycling.org.ohio-state.edu