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Student smiling while rummaging through a closet full of clothes.
April 4, 2022
3 mins read

How to sort out the stuff in your residence room

Did you know that UBC Vancouver was able to divert 53% of the waste created on campus from the landfill in 2020?

This achievement is part of UBC's Zero Waste Action Plan where “all unwanted products and materials will be treated as resources that can be used again, resulting in virtually zero garbage” (Zero Waste Action Plan, 2014). On a campus with a daily population of more than 80,000 people, this goal is extremely important since we have the potential to make a huge difference in the amount of waste produced.

With the residence move out period already underway, now is the perfect opportunity to take action and be mindful about how you sort through the things in your room—and common areas of your suite, if you have roommates—to reduce unnecessary waste.

This is what you can do

Check out the 5 steps for a mindful move out

Take a quick study break, check out these 5 helpful steps for a mindful move out, and get tips on how to plan, sort, pack, clean and check out. Plus, find out what’s on the 2022 donation wish list!

Have questions? You can always ask your RA or your residence front desk.

Think ahead about where to take items

In every UBC student residence, there will be Donation Zones where clean and functional items can be donated. You’ll see bins for used books, electronic waste, used clothes, household items, non-perishable food (i.e. canned/unopened food), and more.

If you live in Marine Drive Residence, watch for a pop-up Donation Zone by the elevators on your floor. As part of the Residential Reuse Initiative, in collaboration with UBC Sustainability, Student Housing will be rotating pop-up Donation Zones from floor to floor. Re-usable items collected here will enter the circular economy on campus and be offered for sale at a fair price to future residents.

Sort it, donate it, or sell it

While you organize and declutter your stuff in preparation for move out, here are a few helpful tips to remember:

Paper products
  • You can recycle piles of old class notes taken over the school year in the blue paper recycling bins.
  • On top of dropping off your textbooks at a Donation Zone, you can also sell your used textbooks online to future students through various websites or Facebook groups and pages.
Kitchen food
  • Perishable items (i.e. old salad, uneaten apples) need to be composted in the green food scraps bins. Do NOT throw any plastics in with your perishable items—make sure it’s only food and food-soiled paper. Visit Sort it Out to see what is accepted.
Physical items

First-year residents: Make sure you return any Green2go containers or residence dining dishware and cutlery to Feast, Gather or Open Kitchen.

Upper-year residents: If you live in a shared suite with roommates, don’t forget to make a plan for any items that don’t seem to belong to anyone.

Clothing & Textiles
  • You’ll be able to donate used clothes and some textile products at your residence Donation Zone.
  • For old, unused, and unloved textiles (i.e. clothing, backpacks, sheets, shoes, sleeping bags, and more), you can donate and recycle them at select Return-It locations around Vancouver.
  • Check out the H&M Garment Collection Program. You can drop off any brand of clothes, in any condition, at any store location and H&M will recycle them. For every bag of clothing you drop off, you’ll receive a voucher toward a future purchase.

I know this is a busy time of year...

As simple as it would be to throw everything away, we have a responsibility to help reduce the waste produced on campus—and there is a lot of potential waste produced during the residence move out. Remember, when in doubt, refer back to the 5 steps of a mindful move out, ask an RA, or check in with your residence front desk.

Together we can make a difference in diverting UBC’s waste and investing in a circular economy on campus.