Springtime can be the beginning of a fresh start for the environment and for college students. There is so much growth everywhere and you are settling back at home after another year of hard work and fun!
But moving back home from college can remind me about just how much stuff I have. And most of my stuff, I don’t even need. I’m sure you have felt the same way.
I wish I could just ditch it all in the trash. However, I know where my stuff is going if I throw it in the trash. And the landfills are the last place I want to put my junk because having these spaces for trash and chemicals is not good for the environment. I try to reduce my accumulation of trash year round. But when it comes to spring cleaning, it can be more difficult. So I really ask myself, what’s the best use for this stuff?
I just can’t help feeling guilty about accumulating all this stuff and now having to get rid of it, which reminds me of the endless cycle we have involved ourselves in.
The cycle of stuff: Buy-Use-Ditch.
Luckily, I can feel a little better that most of my clothes are donated to organizations and my family puts on yard sales to sell our used things we no longer want.
But this year, I wanted to do even more so here are some unusual items I found in my room that I have decided to recycle or give away. Some of them were a surprise to me!
Trophies/Plaques: After these high school memories lose their meaning you can look up a local trophy shop and donate the awards to be reused. You can even keep you plaque that specialized the award for you.
Cell Phones: Donate your old cell phones to U.S. Troops so that they can call home to their families.
Old movie stubs/Tickets/Pictures: Scrapbooking is one way to keep your pictures and paper memorabilia all in one place. It eliminates the waste in your barrels and creates wonderful places to remember good times!
Books: Donate to your local library
Another Hint: If you aren’t ready to give your stuff away or throw it out, put it a box till next May and if you haven’t found use for it in the last year, you probably never will! It’s time to find a new place for your stuff whether it’s good for someone else or has to make its way to the landfill!
All this had made me think about the fact that in order to not get this knot in my stomach from throwing stuff out, I need to stop buying stuff. It really is a cycle. The less you buy, the less you throw out. It takes careful thought on both ends of the spectrum!
Sarah Foss is a junior majoring in journalism with a minor in sociology at Penn State, University Park. In the last three years, she has developed a strong passion for sustainability. Her sophomore year, she was a Teacher’s assistant for environmental science and she interned with the Center for Sustainability at Penn State. She was inducted into NSCS in the Fall of 2010 and served on the THON committee for her chapter.