New office supply reuse program launches for McMaster faculty and staff

SUSTAIN 3S03 students and McMaster staff have collaborated on a new office supply reuse program on campus called Trash to Treasure. (From left to right: Fadi Matloub, Carlos Figueira, Daniyal Ali, Noha Shehata, Ofure Itua and Dave Cano)

One person’s trash is another person’s new filing cabinet, rolling chair, or even office plant.

Connecting McMaster faculty and staff with unwanted but still useful office items has been the mission of four students in SUSTAIN 3S03. They’re aiming to foster a culture of sustainability and reduce waste on campus through their pilot Trash to Treasure reuse program.

With support from Facility Services, University Technology Services (UTS) and the Office of Sustainability, the program aims to streamline the process of office supply redistribution on campus by making it easy for participants to post or find free-or-low-cost office items via a dedicated Microsoft Teams channel.

Designed by an interdisciplinary team of students, Trash to Treasure came out of consultations with administrators across campus who helped to shape the program’s structure. What they heard was enthusiasm for a solution to a university-wide challenge.

“We hold onto things we no longer need because they are still useful,” said Lynne Serviss, associate university librarian. “We are excited that these items can have another life through this program.”

Ofure Itua is a fourth-year biomedical discovery & commercialization student leading the project and says one it’s goals is to cultivate a culture of conscious consumption and responsible resource management on campus.

“It’s exciting to know that you’re working on something that is both solving a problem and positively impacting the community,” said Itua. “It may seem as simple as giving a bookcase or filing cabinet a new home, but these small actions can help create a culture of sustainability.”

Faculty and staff members can participate in this program by visiting the dedicated Furniture Reuse Program Microsoft Team’s Channel or the Trash to Treasure webpage.

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