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Got recycling questions?

July 27th, 2015

Click to submit your questions about recycling

Most people we talk to have something spring to mind when we ask if they have questions about recycling or waste reduction. How about you?

Please submit your questions below in the comments or on the form at http://tiny.cc/trash-talk.

If your question is selected, Campus Recycling staff will answer in a video response in our fall’s Trash Talk online feature (to be posted weekly on our website, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and this blog). Questions that pertain to OSU are more likely to be selected.

Note: If you have a question or need you’d like addressed right away, please contact contact Campus Recycling staff directly.

We look forward to hearing from you!

– Andrea Norris, Campus Recycling

30+ Reuse Ideas for Everyday Items

July 22nd, 2015

At the Waste Watchers booth for the Beyond Earth Day Community Fair, we asked fair attendees to come up with reuse ideas for three items we had on display – a glass jar, an old shirt, and a plastic bag. Here’s what they came up with!


Reuse jars to make citronella candles for a natural way to ward off bugs this summer. Learn how by clicking this photo.

Reuse ideas for a glass jar included:

  • as a vase for flowers
  • as a goldfish bowl
  • as a pen holder
  • as a coin jar (eg. laundry money)
  • to make presents or other crafts in (candles, food, etc.)
  • to store collectibles
  • to store flour, sugar, etc.
  • as a lunch container/for leftovers
  • as a beverage container
  • as a cover for the foot of a chair (slides easier)
  • to store nuts and bolts
  • to catch bugs in!



Craft an old t-shirt into a bag like this one we made for our Your Refuse, My Refuge event in 2013 (modeled by our very own Andrea Norris). Learn how by clicking on this photo.

Reuse ideas for an old shirt included:

  • to make rags
  • to make into a stylish, funky craft shirt
  • to tie dye
  • to braid and make a jungle gym for pet rats
  • to make hair ties and headbands
  • to craft into a reusable shopping bag
  • as a tourniquet or first aid wrap
  • to make a quilt
  • as a coffee filter
  • to make a scarf
  • for straining water or grey waste


Reuse ideas for a plastic bag included:

  • to pick-up pet droppings
  • to re-fill with bulk items or produce from the market
  • as a lunch or sandwich bag
  • to make rope
  • as a bike seat cover
  • as a garbage bag
  • to make clothing (recycled fashion show-esque)
  • to store homemade baked goods in
  • as a cast cover
  • as a holder for drippy cleaning brushes and sponges
  • as a hoodie for the rain
  • as a rain gatherer
  • to protect tender plants in early spring

A simple, cost-free solution for rain coverage. Photo from superstock.com.


Thank you to all our booth attendees for these great reuse ideas!

Recycling/Surplus Staff Spotlight: Gabe Janzen

July 20th, 2015

This week’s Staff Spotlight features Gabe Janzen.Gabe-spotlight

Who: Gabe Janzen, a Student IT Worker for Surplus for the last year and a half.

What he does here: I refurbish the university’s old computers for resale.

One fave thing about his job: Getting to play with a large variety of old and new technology.

If he could improve one thing about waste reduction at OSU: Less wasted resources on equipment that was never used. We sometimes see very old computer parts in their original packaging.

This post is part of the”Recycling/Surplus Staff Spotlight” blog series, which showcases staff from Campus Recycling and Surplus Property and will run regularly during the summer. Tune in throughout the summer for more.

Benton County Looking to Hire Sustainability Coordinator

July 16th, 2015

Looking to become a Benton County Team Member? Well, here’s your chance!

Benton County is currently accepting applications for their Sustainability Coordinator position. The position is a great opportunity to help work with Benton County’s newly expanded role within community sustainability and resilience. It is a full-time, permanent position. 

Duties include planning, coordinating, and implementing sustainable practices within the Benton County organization, and County sustainability efforts affecting communities throughout the county.  Work is under guidance of an internal-focus committee, and an external-focus committee.

The program goal is to enable current and future generations to simultaneously meet environmental, economic, and societal needs.

If interested, check out the Benton County website to learn more about the position and to apply. Applications are due August 8th.

OSU Joins DOE’s EV Workplace Charging Challenge

July 16th, 2015

Oregon State University is proud to demonstrate its leadership in workplace sustainability by supporting the development of the national plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) charging infrastructure. OSU is pursuing this goal as part of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Workplace Charging Challenge – a national partnership that aims to increase the number of employers offering workplace charging to 500 by 2018.

The Workplace Charging Challenge calls upon America’s employers to act as partners and make a bold commitment to provide PEV charging access to their workforce. Partners are employers that commit to assessing employee demand for PEV workplace charging, and developing and executing a plan to provide PEV charging access. See their website for a  list of current partners. In support of those who join the Challenge, DOE provides resources, recognition and peer-to-peer exchange opportunities.


As of January 2015, more than 300,000 PEVs are on U.S. highways, powered by electricity made in America. So far, challenge partners have saved more than 370,000 gallons of gasoline and 2.5 million pounds of carbon pollution. Partner charging stations in operation by June 2014 provided an estimated annual kWh usage of 6.7 million kWh. This usage saves 800,000 gallons of gasoline and avoids 5.5 million pounds of greenhouse gas annually – the equivalent of removing nearly 1,500 average cars from U.S. roads and OSU is excited to add to these accomplishments. To accommodate PEVs, there are currently 21 charging stations spread out at 6 locations on the OSU Corvallis campus. Through its efforts, OSU is helping to reduce petroleum use and greenhouse gas emissions while also providing a valuable employee benefit. OSU is pleased to be leading the charge toward a clean energy future.


Learn more about the  Workplace Charging Challenge and more about EV charging at OSU.



July 15th, 2015

Time for another Staff Spotlight! This week features Steve Schofield.

Who: Steve Schofield, Surplus/Warehouse Coordinator for Surplus for the last 4 and a half years.

What he does here:steve-spotlight I coordinate the influx of surplus on campus and maintain the warehouse space.

One fave thing about his job:
The variety in the work I do as well as knowing I’m giving things another life by keeping them out of the landfill.

If he could improve something about waste reduction at OSU:
I’d want to reduce the “use it or lose it” mentality of the departments on campus when it comes to their budget. I also hope to see an increase in re-configurable/modular furniture that lasts a long time so that departments don’t need to buy new as often.

This post is part of the”Recycling/Surplus Staff Spotlight” blog series, which showcases staff from Campus Recycling and Surplus Property and will run regularly during the summer. Tune in throughout the summer for more.

OSUsed Store Midsummer Sales July 15 and 18

July 13th, 2015

sale graphic

Come by the OSUsed Store for our weekly Wednesday public sale and monthly Saturday sale, where we will have clearance prices on several items in the store. Our hours are:

  • Wednesday, July 15, 12 – 3 pm
  • Saturday, July 18 at 9 am – 12 pm

The following items will be on clearance:

  • 50% off: Bookcases, desks and tables
  • Buy 1, get 1 free: Chairs and books

Other available merchandise will include computers and computer accessories, furniture (desks, file cabinets, tables, chairs, bookcases, etc), office supplies, sporting goods, household items, bicycles and much more.

The OSUsed Store is located at 644 SW 13th Street in Corvallis (view on Google Maps). The store is operated by OSU Surplus Property and sells surplus equipment and material to departments on campus as well as members of the public during special public sales, in an effort to reduce landfill waste and keep money in the university.

While our public sales provide an opportunity for the general public to make personal purchases, departments (as well as government agencies and non-profits) are welcome to shop 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.

See our other sale dates on our calendar. For more information, visit our OSUsed Store page or contact us.

Recycling/Surplus Staff Spotlight: Jessica Collins

July 1st, 2015


This post is the first of our blog series which will showcase staff from Campus Recycling and Surplus Property and will run regularly during the summer.

Who: Jessica Collins, Student Program Assistant for Campus Recycling for the last 9 months.

What she does here:
Behind the scenes stuff mainly – assisting with coordination of programs, research, data collection and evaluation. I do event staffing, marketing, and other tasks within Campus Recycling and Surplus too.

One fave thing about her job:
Our team and the rest of the staff are so great to work with. I have really cool coworkers. No lie.

If she could improve one thing about waste reduction at OSU:
Hard to pick just one, but a big hope of mine is for Athletics and Campus Recycling to implement a “zero”-waste program for all the stadiums on campus. It’s something we hope to work on next year.

This post is part of the”Recycling/Surplus Staff Spotlight” blog series, which showcases staff from Campus Recycling and Surplus Property and will run regularly during the summer. Tune in throughout the summer for more.

Benton County Fair Looking For Volunteers

June 30th, 2015

The annual Benton County Fair (July 29-Aug 1) is currently looking for volunteers to help with the waste stations. Volunteers will help fair-goers sort their waste into compost, recycling, and trash.

As compensation, volunteers will receive a FREE FAIR TICKET if they work 2 hours. Free parking passes will also be provided to all volunteers.

All volunteers will be given training prior to the fair.

Visit Benton County Fair’s website for sign-ups and for more information.

Res. Hall Donation Drive breaks record with 17 tons collected

June 29th, 2015

Results are in for this year’s Res. Hall Move-Out Donation Drive and we are pleasantly surprised!

Results infographic

An estimated total of 33,950 pounds – or 17 tons – of donations were collected, far exceeding our 24,000-pound goal! This was 1.5 times more than last year and breaks all records we’ve kept since 2010.

Chart showing donations increasing over time

Every category increased this year, as can be seen in the table below.

Category 2014 Weight (lbs.) 2015 Weight (lbs.) Percent Increase
Housewares 10,027 13,268 32%
Clothing, Shoes & Linens 6,664 9,706 46%
Wood 3,820 7,618 99%
Food, Toiletries, School Supplies 1,897 3,358 77%
Total Donations 22,408 33,950 52%
Staff and volunteers unload a truck full of donations to be sorted.

Staff and volunteers unload a truck full of donations to be sorted. Click to view larger.


Why the increases? It is possible that some are due to the addition of a new res. hall (Tebeau) and The Gem participating in the program for the first time this year. As always, we also hope that this reflects a smaller amount of reusable material ending up in dumpsters.

Special thanks to the estimated 35 volunteers who contributed 152 hours of their time to collect and process donations this year. And of course thank you to UHDS for their continued role in the program and to our residents who chose to give away rather than throw away!

Pallet-size boxes full of donations await pick-up by non-profits.

Pallet-size boxes full of donations await pick-up by non-profits. Click to view larger.

While a portion of the materials are resold at the OSUsed Store to cover the costs of the program, the majority are given to local non-profits. This year that included Community Outreach, Helping Hands in Albany, Jackson Street Youth Shelter, Linn Benton Food Share and more. See a full list on our Donation Drive webpage.

Learn more about this history of the Move-Out Donation Drive on our history webpage.

The Res. Hall Move-out Donation Drive is an annual event coordinated by Campus Recycling in collaboration with Surplus Property and University Housing and Dining.

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