Donate. Volunteer. Shop.

How often does a sustainability blog encourage you to shop? You are more likely to see a message encouraging you to buy green if you must buy at all, and that’s true, but I’m going give you a sustainability blessing to buy used at the student move-out sales around the country, many of which are days away.

Penn State’s 10th annual Trash to Treasure will sell somewhere in the vicinity of 60-70 tons of move-out donations to raise over $50,000 for United Way on June 4, 2011. Notre Dame will hold its 7th annual Old2Gold sale on June 25, 2011. If last year was any indication, people will begin lining up at 3:00 AM to get a first shot at sale items. The doors will open at 7:00 AM, and approximately 4,000 shoppers will help contribute to the over $50,000 raised for community non-profits. These sales are happening all over the country. University of Texas will hold its 5th annual sale, Trash to Treasure, in the fall. Cities are pitching in too. Iowa City sponsors Rummage in the Ramp to divert reusable items from the landfill. Its 5th annual sale will be in July.

Indiana University is in the game too. The residence halls have been sending donations to charity for years, but beginning in 2010, Hoosier to Hoosier Community Sale (H2H) has been collecting on and off campus, working to divert student waste from the landfill, reduce consumption of new resources by selling donations to students and community members, and donate proceeds to charity. The second annual sale is August 20, 2011, and a number of useful and interesting items will be available from a piñata to couches to thigh high boots to treadmills to microwaves to dishes. If you can imagine it in a dorm room, H2H probably has at least one, so if you need a personal DVD player or teddy bear slippers, I hereby give you the official okay to buy it—used—from one of these many worthy programs. So, indulge in that juicer you saw on late night TV or the stability boot you’ve always wanted to show you really did break your foot during your final exam, and buy the crutches to make it believable. Buy the Captain Morgan hat for Halloween and the formal dress you couldn’t afford. The only thing you won’t find is a mattress, but did you really need it anyway with the nifty futon you bought at the sale?

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