Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Student Move-Out

It's hard to believe, but with less than a month left before classes end, it's time to start thinking about Student Move-Out! Students, you know the drill-- stuff all your unwanted belongings into plastic garbage bags and leave them in your dorm room or at the curb... Oh wait, that's not right. Here's a guide with everything you need to know about responsible student move-out!

For students in the dorms:
Look for the yellow donation boxes in your residence hall's lobby (or the laundry rooms of Northwood 1,2 & 3). Acceptable donations include:
  • Clothes & shoes- no undergarments, please
  • Food & toiletries- unopened/non-perishable
  • Bedding- clean sheets, blankets, towels, pillows
  • Household items (i.e. cooking utensils, small appliances, school supplies; clean & in working condition)
Remember to wash all bedding and clothing before placing into the donation boxes! Can't find your dorm's donation box? Ask at your residence hall community center! Last year students donated 10.61 tons of material to local nonprofits. Think we can collect 14 tons in 2014???

Got large or bulky items? Take them to the "Take It or Leave It" area outside your Residence Hall loading dock or in Northwood II lot 21 and Northwood V lot 51. Acceptable items include:
  • Carpets & rugs- rolled up neatly and sealed with cord or tape
  • Large electronics- printers, microwaves, computers, refrigerators
  • Furniture- please place neatly in designated area
  • Loft wood- please remove all nails, pile neatly in designated area
Don't forget to look through the items in the "Take It or Leave It" area and "Take" some discarded treasures for your new home. Click here for more information on moving out of your residence hall.

For students living off-campus:
As in years past, The City of Ann Arbor will be offering a free solid waste drop off site located at East University and Oakland. Drop offs will be accepted between 11am and 5pm on Tuesday April 29 through Saturday May 10. Materials accepted include:

Items for disposal
  • Bagged trash
  • Discarded furniture
  • Curbside recycling
Items for donation
  • Clothing
  • Non-perishable food
  • Toiletries
  • Furniture
  • Working electronic appliances
If you have furniture to donate but no way to transport it, call the Recycle Ann Arbor ReUse Center (734-222-7880), Salvation Army (313-965-7760), or PTO Thrift Shop (734-996-9195) as they may be able to pick it up at your residence.

To date, the University of Michigan Move Out Donation Program has collected over 200 tons of donations!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Water Recycling!

Rainwater Catchment

April showers bring more than just flowers for people with home rainwater catchment systems! Harvested rainwater can be used to water lawns and gardens, bringing you a beautiful yard and leaving some extra money in your pocket. Harvesting rainwater keeps your water bill low during gardening season, and can lower the energy used to transport water to your spigots and faucets. Moreover, according to the University of Michigan Matthaei Botanical Gardens & Nichols Arboretum's (MBGNA), rainwater harvesting reduces flooding, pollution, and erosion of the Huron River. Here's how you can get started!

The Huron River Watershed Council has compiled a list of places for Ann Arbor residents to purchase rain barrels. A 55-gallon rain barrel from the Washtenaw County Conservation District runs about $75-- not a bad investment since you can save up to 40% of your household water bill each summer you water your garden and lawn with rainwater. But if the cost is too steep or you're just feeling handy, Mother Earth News provides excellent DIY step-by-step instructions for "How To Make A Rain Barrel".

Once you've acquired or constructed your rain barrel, the next step is installation. The MBGNA provides comprehensive 5-step instructions for "Installing your Rain Barrel" plus some helpful tips for maintenance. Need help getting started? Check out these links for answers to all your rainwater harvest questions:
Greywater Reuse

Rainwater harvesting is a great project for homeowners, but there are plenty of ways for students and renters to recycle water as well. Greywater is water from your bathroom sinks, showers, tubs, and washing machines that can be collected and used as a source of water for your lawn and garden. Although greywater usage has been a topic of debate, the Water Environment Research Foundation (WERF) and the American Cleaning Institute (ACI) recently published a 5-year-long study and identified no major concerns with greywater usage in growing garden plants. The study even found that most landscape plants are healthier under long-term greywater irrigation compared to freshwater irrigation.

The easiest way to collect greywater is to place a bucket or tub in the bathroom sink, shower, or kitchen sink. Water collected this way can be used to water the garden, lawn, or houseplants, or you could try the toilet water bucket flush. Greywater Action, a group that works to educate and empower people to build sustainable water culture and infrastructure, has educational materials and instructions for more in-depth greywater recycling projects available on their website. Easier projects can be found on the Sustainable Baby Steps website.

Wolverines Recycle Water!

Approximately 65% of household water can be recycled as greywater, and Ann Arbor receives an average rainfall of 3.2 inches in the month of April alone. The potential for household water recycling is huge! The University of Michigan Water Center has awarded over $4.6 million in large grants to bolster freshwater research, restoration, and protection efforts throughout the Great Lakes region and beyond. It's time for the University's students, faculty, and staff to be as dedicated to ensuring the sustainability of Michigan's freshwater resources as the University itself! Choose a project-- big or small-- and join the water recycling movement!