Tiger Treasures recycles students' usable items | The Maneater

Tue June 4, 2013

USAgain partnered with the University of Missouri to recycle leftover clothing from Tiger Treasures, the University's annual rummage sale. The event was an opportunity for students to buy and sell items they no longer wanted after the conclusion of the school year. By handling the leftover clothing, shoes and other textiles, USAgain kept the items out of landfills and sent them toward a second life.

"USAgain's efforts to keep textiles from landfills fit with our goals to reduce waste by recycling students' unwanted goods," said Steve Burdic, MU Sustainability Office Coordinator.

Tiger Treasures gave USAgain an opportunity to connect with the community and continue to divert waste from landfills. The company diverted 58 million pounds of textiles from landfills in 2012 alone.

"It's one of our biggest goals to participate in community events like Tiger Treasures," said Tom Jacquin, Division Manager of USAgain St. Louis. "The MU Sustainability Office has great goals and initiatives. It was a pleasure to help them recycle textiles at the event."

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Tiger Treasures collected 20 tons of unwanted, usable items from students living in residential halls and Greek houses during the last week of the spring semester

MU, Columbia and several non-profit agencies collaborated to create the program. Sustainability Coordinator Steve Burdic said the main donation the program receives is clothing.

“But we also get furniture, carpeting, small pieces like some kitchenware, and large ones like microwaves, televisions and refrigerators,” he said.

Tiger Treasures was established seven years ago and collects donations at the end of every spring semester. The program is dedicated to conserving energy, reducing waste and benefiting the local community.

“(Students) move out of the dorms (at the end of the year) and have no way to get that stuff home, so they throw them away,” Burdic said. “We want to capture the value of that material and put it back to the community.”

Tiger Treasures held its annual rummage sale from 6 to 11 a.m. June 1 at Mizzou Surplus Property. Shuttle service ran every 15 minutes from 5 to 10 a.m. from the Hearnes Center to the sale. There was a $5 admission fee for people who arrived before 6, but the sale was free after 11.

“We usually have a couple thousand people come down and buy that material,” Burdic said.

All the proceeds from the sale will benefit the University YMCA, which offers a summer youth program.

“The funds will assist in offering scholarships to families that may otherwise not be able to afford a camp experience,” Volunteer Coordinator Trina Almond said in an email. “For some families (including myself), it creates a child care option so that parents can retain employment as their children are out of school.”

Recycling companies like USAgain, a for-profit company that collects unwanted textiles and resells them in the U.S. and abroad, will sort and recycle the items not sold, Administration Assistant Alicia LaVaute said.

Burdic said he appreciates the students who donated and all the people and organizations involved in the sale, including the Sustainability Office, MU Campus Facilities and Columbia. The office of Residential Life, Surplus Property and YMCA were also involved.

For Almond, this project benefits MU students in multiple ways.

“It develops students’ sense of when students donate their unwanted items to charity and allows them to shorten the amount of time and space to pack to leave campus,” Almond said. “It creates a sense of philanthropy and community amongst students as they share a common gift to charity.”

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