Dumpster Diving: Colleges Get Smart on Salvage

Every year departing students leave tons of perfectly usable stuff on campus — and more and more schools are salvaging these items and giving them to charities

James Marshall / Dump and Run

At Maine's Bowdoin College, last spring's sale of student detritus garnered nearly $40,000 in proceeds that went to charities

The scavengers arrive on college campuses like clockwork, in search of books, DVD players, barely worn clothes, lamps, couches and anything else that departing students didn't bother to take home. Every spring, several years' worth of accumulated goods are chucked into huge trash receptacles or placed on curbsides by harried undergrads. (See TIME's photos of the evolution of the college dorm.)

That's when the Dumpster divers — townies and students alike — get to work. (I recall, eight years ago as an RA, raiding rooms in my apartment complex for espresso machines and other appliances that...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!