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ReCoop: Recycled Couches, Lamps, Electronics and More Provide Great Deals for Students

Wesley Quevedo '14

Wesley Quevedo '14, who works in the Sustainability Office, with some of the ReCoop items

Each May, Pomona’s Operation Clean Sweep team goes through every dorm room collecting items left behind by students. They collected more than eight 20-foot trailers of items ranging from rugs, couches and chairs to lamps, microwaves, electrical cords, storage units, nerf guns and hundreds of hangers. Through ReCoop each fall, those item are available for sale to students.

First-year students get the first crack at purchasing these recovered items at the seventh annual ReCoop sale on Sunday, Aug. 25, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., on the walkway in front of Pendleton Pool (behind Mudd-Blaisdell and Harwood Hall). Continuing students get their opportunity a week later on Sunday, Sept. 1, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., in Walker Lounge. Organizers report lines at the sale every year before opening.

Couches will cost $25-$50, fridges $35-$80 and rugs $5-$15, all depending on size and quality. Hangers, as usual, will be free to those willing to untangle them.

The available inventory includes:

  • three bins jammed to the top with an assortment of couches, armchairs, office chairs, futon frames, and IKEA tables and shelves;
  • one bin 95% full with a massive mountain of rugs, futon mattresses, and mattress pads;
  • one bin filled with electronics including printers, floor lamps, desk lamps, fans, speakers, power strips, and random electronic cables;
  • as well as microwaves, plastic storage containers, cleaning supplies, sporting equipment, board games, binders, notebooks, lined and printer paper, pens and pencils galore, room decorations, stuffed animals, Brita filters, pillows, and other random items.

This year, mini-refrigerators will not be for sale at ReCoop. While almost 100 were collected, few if any are Energy Star rated, says Ginny Routhe, Pomona’s assistant director of sustainability. “The most efficient mini fridges use 70% of the energy of a full size fridge with 80-85% being closer to average on older models. We suspect that many we collected are 5-10 years old and low on the efficiency scale. Rather than cycle these back out to our campus to waste electricity, we are locating other options to recycle these off campus.”

In addition to items available at the ReCoop sale, the Clean Sweep team also collected about a bin and a half’s worth of clothes, shoes, bedding, and towels, which were donated to local nonprofit groups. Uncommon Good was able to provide supplies to 13 students heading to their freshman year in college. Clothing went to the Salvation Army and a home for children and teens. The Inland Valley Hope Partners received food items. The Prison Library Project got books that were left behind, and the Los Angeles Animal Shelter and Pig Harmony received bedding for their animals.

According to Routhe, “The items collected in Clean Sweep this last May, equal approximately 35 tons of waste diversion that would otherwise have gone to the landfill."

Related links:

ReCoop/Clean Sweep

Sustainability at Pomona College

The Sustainability Integration Office

Uncommon Good

Inland Valley Hope Partners

Pig Harmony

Prison Library Project

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