We have all heard the great adage, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”
Though it may seem that the cliché is rarely true, some students have made exciting discoveries in Savannah’s trash.
Elizabeth Farrar, a graduate illustration student, got her first taste of Dumpster diving while working on her undergraduate degree at the University of Louisville. She became involved with a group called GRASS, Group Recycling and Sustainable Solutions, a campus organization that strives to improve recycling and reduce waste.
“We became zealots about this entire movement, and it got to a point where we said, ‘College students are so wasteful. They are disposing of practical items so let’s go to the Dumpsters and see what we can find in there.’”
Farrar’s accusations were dead on. Working with GRASS, she discovered that students had tossed out a ton of recyclable items, as well as other usable goods.
“We found an entire Sam’s Club box of granola bars that had only recently expired,” said Farrar.
With Americans generating about 250 million tons of trash every year, there is an abundance of potential, and Farrar isn’t the only one who is diving in. Lauren Schwind, a junior illustration student, has found the school’s dumpsters to be gold mines.
“I’ve found paint, powered charcoal, pretty much anything gets thrown out of the dorms,” said Schwind.
Schwind’s advice for the best place to look? “The freshman dorms because they have no idea what value is.”
Through Dumpster diving, Schwind has found a wealth of coveted and expensive art supplies. She has also procured a working lamp with the light bulbs still intact, an oscillating fan and an aloe vera plant.
With the quarter ending May 31, students will be going home for the summer or moving to new apartments, and the Dumpsters will be filling up quickly with abandoned items. So if you’re game, get your gloves on and get ready to go on a new kind of treasure hunt.