Top image: Post-Landfill Action Network's Trash 2 Treasure Fall Move-In Sale.
The Brower Youth Awards for young environmental activists recently honored Alex Freid, founder of the Post-Landfill Action Network (PLAN), for his efforts to combat waste on school campuses in New Hampshire. PLAN works with an eye toward zero campus waste. Freid noticed that at the end of a school year, the University of New Hampshire's monthly garbage collection jumped from its average of 25 tons to 105 tons, and a lot of the "garbage" was useful stuff — furniture, clothing, appliances, and more. Freid wisely notes that, "When the only solution is a dumpster, everything looks like trash."
So, Freid and PLAN established the Trash 2 Treasure program to collect all of the Spring cast-offs and sell it forward in the Fall to incoming students at discounted prices. PLAN's goal is to expand its network to include more campuses across the country, sharing best-practices and tested models as they go. So far, the results are impressive. In its first three years, PLAN's T2T program has:
- Diverted more than 110 tons of waste from landfills
- Brought in over $55,000 in revenues
- Donated more than five tons of food and clothing to local shelters
- Saved UNH $10,000 in waste disposal costs
- Saved students around $216,000 by selling recycled goods