The College's Successful Zero Waste Move-In

Inspired by her first-hand experience with the University of North Carolina at Charlotte's Zero Waste move-in program in action, CSD Climate Manager and Zero Waste Coordinator, Darcy Everett, decided to create CofC’s first official Zero Waste Move-In with the Fall 2020 class. This meant partnering with facilities management and housing to prevent the vast amount of cardboard from getting thrown into the landfill.

Interns and staff members from the CSD, recycling shop manager Jerome Smalls, faculty members, and the housekeeping staff collected cardboard for transport to recycling instead of being taken to the municipal landfill. Residence Hall housekeeping supervisor, Cynthia Rivers, and her team helped pull the trash out of the boxes and brought the cardboard out to the corrals. 

While there was a large community of volunteers assisting during move-in weekend, the number of volunteers was limited each day. All volunteers stayed outside of the dorms and wore heavy-duty gloves and masks while social distancing.

A total of 5,440 Ibs, approximately 2 ½ tons, of cardboard were collected from Friday-Sunday. After the cardboard was collected, it was then transported to Sonoco where it will be turned into new cardboard or chipboard. 

Darcy Everett plans to make this an annual occurrence and was pleasantly surprised by “the family of student participation.” Everett shared that the toughest part of the weekend was “the amount of cardboard that was coming out of the Res Halls.” Everett said both the students and parents moving into the dorms thanked her team and were eager and willing to recycle their cardboard. The weekend was a great success, and Everett and her team were able to safely help our campus divert a large amount of cardboard from the landfill.

Although the College stands out as a leader for zero-waste initiatives at an academic institution, prior to 2020 they didn’t have a zero-waste program like this. Each day, more and more institutions like the College are realizing their environmental impact and waste generation, so they are trying to find ways to divert it. It is a community effort to make these drastic changes, and the College of Charleston is proving these changes can be made.