Campus move-out recycling program helps charities

By Trevor Allison

Baylor’s Department of Sustainability is giving students the opportunity to recycle their waste and donate unneeded items to local charities through its Take It or Leave It program during move-out this year.

Smith Getterman, sustainability coordinator for Baylor, said the program provides an opportunity for students to donate items they might normally throw away when moving out of their residence hall.

“Instead of trashing their couch, television or microwave, they [students] can donate it to Caritas or Goodwill at one of the locations in the residence hall lobbies or near the Baylor-run apartment complexes,” Getterman said.

Buddy Edwards, executive director of Caritas of Waco, said his organization approached Baylor about the possibility of acquiring items students no longer needed at the end of the school years.

“We have partnered with the Baylor sustainability effort for five years, and it has proven to be a valuable relationship for us,” Edwards said.

The donations will help support Caritas’ emergency assistance program, which provides clothing and other household items to people with special needs.

“Items are placed in our thrift stores where some are given away and others are sold,” Edwards said. “Revenues from sales are used to further the emergency services of Caritas.”

Getterman said the program is important because it helps to demonstrate the university’s understanding of responsibly taking care of its goods and resources.

“Instead of sending perfectly good used items to the landfill, students have the opportunity to extend the life of those items by donating them to organizations that will help get them to people who are in need,” Getterman said.

He said with the way the program is set up, it is beneficial for everyone.

“Everyone wins: students get rid of the stuff they no longer want or need, Baylor is minimizing its impact on the environment and Caritas and Goodwill capture desirable products for their customers,” Getterman said.

Edwards said Caritas depends completely on the generosity of the community in receiving its donations for client services and thrift store sales.

“The donations to Caritas through Baylor Sustainability provide an important source of items,” Edwards said.

Getterman said donation areas will be easily accessible for everyone in Baylor housing.

“Boxes will be located in all residence hall lobbies and Goodwill trucks will be strategically placed near Baylor apartment complexes,” Getterman said.

He also said students that live nearby campus are free to donate any unused or gently used items as well.

Baylor Sustainability recently competed as part of the Recyclemania contest and finished first in the Big 12, an improvement from its third-place finish the previous two years.

Recyclemania is an eight-week nationwide tournament in the spring to see which colleges can recycle the most trash per capita and what percentage of waste is recycled, according to its website.

Baylor Sustainability is taking individual and group volunteers for the Move In recycling operation in August, which helps to recycle the thousands of discarded cardboard boxes.

He said last year, Baylor set a university record by recycling 12.84 tons of cardboard in 48 hours.

For more information about Baylor Sustainability or to volunteer to assist with next year’s Move In project, contact Getterman at