Sustainability

Rens-cycle program sponsors campus reuse

“Free-cycling” events to be held around campus, feature student trading of unwanted items

Do you have stuff that you no longer need, but is not worthy of a trip to the landfill? Do you attribute merit to the old saying: “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure?” Then you should make a trip over to Rens-cycle. From 10:30 am–6 pm on May 11 and May 14–17, students can come to the lawn behind Commons Dining Hall, the Rensselaer Society of Engineers lawn, or the Rensselaer Apartment Housing Projects behind the laundry room to drop off and take free appliances, supplies, clean clothes, or just general knick-knacks. The events are free and open to students and the community. Formerly called Dump and Run, Rens-cycle allows every item you don’t use anymore to keep another student from purchasing, and it will save you a trip to storage at the end of the year. Not only does it encourage recycling and reuse on campus, it also allows students to evaluate their personal wants and needs. This ultimately reduces resource consumption and volume in the landfill, and beneficiaries of the items can spend money elsewhere.

“Free-cycling,” as it is known, is not without its drawbacks, though. Without attributing a price to the items, citizens might find it tougher to find the true value. Some people might take more than they really want, or they could underestimate the numerous benefits already present. At a giveaway event in London, one man became annoyed after not having a bike earmarked for a charity. I’ve also heard of people demanding the items be delivered to their residence, as if they were doing a favor by taking the item. Fortunately, these cases are the extremes, and the vast majority of participants receive mutual benefit at the events. I would hope free-cycling allows people to ultimately analyze their consumption patterns and spending habits. As Oscar Wilde said, “Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing.” Rens-cycle and similar events are essential to evaluating consumer lifestyle and engaging in community involvement.

Definitely spend a few minutes of your day to bring goods and check out the new stuff. The more students participating, the greater likelihood you have of finding something good. Please don’t bring anything dirty or non-functional, unless you found my MATLAB code I lost a few weeks ago. We could definitely use some volunteers to keep things organized, and it will be a great way to get outside while studying. More importantly, volunteering guarantees you dibs on the coolest stuff. Also, for avid free-cyclers, I would recommend visiting http://scavnet.myrpi.org/. It’s an excellent website to list personal items you no longer need, and then you can pick up other students’ items for free. For volunteer signups and additional information, contact Shwetha Sridharan at srids@rpi.edu.

Editor’s Note: “Sustainability” is a column granted to the Student Sustainability Task Force by the Editorial Board to discuss issues of sustainability on the Rensselaer campus and around the nation.