Surplus Goods at U of W

Jeffrey Wilson, Darren Seymour, Nicole Kopysh, Jin Huh, Shauna Cox

Course: ERS 285, 1995
Supervisor: James Kay

Abstract

Our group was interested in pursuing the idea of reuse on campus. We discovered that a surplus system existed at the University of Waterloo which promotes the reuse of items. We decided to examine this system by evaluating the flow of goods through Surplus and determining its level of sustainability.

The goal of reuse is to keep items out of the landfill and the bluebox. It is common in our society to say "I hate to throw this out, but..?". Reuse facilities provide the answer to this question. It is a simple concept; reuse takes items that one person no longer has a use for, and allows someone else who needs the item the opportunity to use it. Simultaneously, this reuse complements the reduction of goods by decreasing the amount of items that need to be purchased new. We wanted to explore these notions of reusing and reducing on campus. Recycling is already prevalent throughout the university. There are blueboxes virtually everywhere on campus for bottles, cans, and paper, etc. We were interested in the flow of items which could be used more efficiently if alternatives to recycling them were pursued. Our aim was to take the success of recycling one step further towards reusing. Reusing and reducing at the source are concepts that bring us closer to achieving sustainability because they deal with lifestyle behavioural changes.

Our main objective in carrying out this study is to perform an audit of the Surplus Goods Section of the Central Stores Department in East Campus Hall. For the purpose of this project, we had to decide what would make Surplus Goods sustainable. The criteria we developed to determine the level of sustainability of Surplus Goods are:

  1. AWARENESS
  2. ACCESSIBILITY
  3. USE
  4. DIVERSION

By integrating these four criteria a more complete picture of Surplus Goods can be developed and it can be determined if it is functioning sustainably. If Surplus meets these criteria then it is contributing to the sustainability of the University of Waterloo and working towards achieving a sustainable global village.

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Last updated: June 13, 1995 jjk