posted April 26: From trash to treasure


The old saying goes that “one person's trash is another's treasure.” This adage will be put to the test with the launch of McMaster's first Dump and Run.

Student volunteers spent part of last weekend delivering fliers to the residents of the community bounded by Main Street West, Dow Street, Highway 403 and Rifle Range Road.

The area is the site of a pilot project that will run from Monday (April 29) to Sunday (May 5). This project partners students, the community and the City of Hamilton Waste Management Division in an effort to encourage the reuse of household items.

The fliers were produced by the McMaster Students Union (MSU) Environment Committee to inform residents about Dump and Run, a student driven initiative inspired by the desire to do something about the amount of garbage produced by the campus community during the student move-out in April and May.

Joanna Ranieri, chair of the MSU Environment Committee, says, “We recognized the need for proactive measures to prevent the massive amount of waste produced during the student moveout.”

Students and residents living in the pilot area are encouraged to place their unwanted items curbside so that they can be picked up and reused by other students or members of the community.

Ranieri adds,”We thought that this was a great opportunity to prevent things from going into the landfill, and so did the City of Hamilton Waste Management Division, who has been instrumental in the development of this project. They've taken care of all of the technical aspects and given us tremendous help in terms of resources and support.”

Dennis Guy ('00), project manager, community outreach, helped facilitate the project by arranging for a special bulk collection for the pilot area, scheduled for May 6. This is the day after the pilot project ends and is intended to collect any remaining unwanted items. There is also a regularly scheduled bulk collection May 13.

Guy is enthusiastic about the pilot project and notes that it is a similar model to the successfull “Reuserama” program that ran for years in Dundas. “Dump and Run is an initiative that supports the city's goal to reach a target of 65% waste diversion by 2008.”

Ranieri cautions that the Dump and Run project shouldn't be seen as an opportunity to get rid of unusable junk; it's meant to extend the life of usable items no longer needed in student or community households. She provides the following as a guideline:

Acceptable Items

Bulk Goods

  • furniture, TVs
  • bicycles
  • carpet (rolled and cut to 120cm/4 ft. in length, 23 kg/50 lbs max.)

Unacceptable Items

  • White Goods: fridges, stoves, freezers
  • Hazardous Wastes: paint, motor oil, batteries, flammables etc.