Faculty invited to recycle and swap old office supplies for new items


Gabriella Belzer

John Thompson, an organic chemistry graduate student, chooses items to buy from the office supply sale in the Anna Hiss Gym.  The office supply swap is selling used products to students for discounted prices.

Tatiana Marceleno

Notebooks, printer cartridges and other office supplies were organized onto tables in the Anna Hiss Gymnasium on Tuesday for UT’s first Trash to Treasure Office Supply Swap.

The Campus Environmental Center, Office of Sustainability and Division of Housing and Food Service partnered together to host the supply swap for UT staff to bring in unwanted office supplies and trade them in for supplies they might need.

“I wanted to do something that I knew staff would hear about and hopefully re-spark the interest in recycling,” said Karen Blaney, sustainability operations assistant manager. 

The two-day event was held Monday and Tuesday when faculty stopped by to pick up whatever supplies they needed. 

“I’m just hoping this diverts a couple thousand pounds from the landfill and hopefully gets it to people who want it instead of people who are resentful of it sitting in the closet,” Blaney said.

Blaney said the UT Elementary School and an office supply reuse store were also invited to select whatever they wanted and the leftover supplies would be auctioned off to the general public.

Environmental science freshman Toni Red volunteered at the event with the Campus Environmental Center and she said she was glad to see people bringing in items to donate and recycle. 

“There [are] so many things that we don’t really use so it’s good to reuse them,” Red said. “If not, they would probably end up in landfills or stuck in a drawer.” 

Jennifer Hobson, sustainability program coordinator, said the supply swap was also economically beneficial to participants. 

“A lot of office supplies are very expensive and this way people can come get office supplies without spending the money, so I think that’s one of the benefits,” Hobson said.

Hobson said the event was such a success, the event organizers are looking into inviting students to participate in the event next year and to hopefully raise awareness of recycling options. 

“I think there’s enough stuff that was left over that if we can make it available to students, it would be beneficial for everybody at UT,” Hobson said.

Published on February 20, 2013 as "Environmental Center recycle office supplies".