MSU Surplus Store hosts weeklong Community ReUse days
Students planning to throw away anything from textbooks to old furniture can look to the MSU Surplus Store for a more sustainable alternative.
The store’s Community ReUse Days allows MSU students, faculty and alumni to haul in their unwanted household items, which are then resold in the store or recycled.
Community ReUse Days this fall were held this past Saturday and Monday, and will continue through Friday as part of Campus Sustainability Month.
“We open our doors twice a year and offer a way to extend the life cycle of things,” Sustainability Education Coordinator James Ives said.
“After a while, you can tell if something’s unique and worth selling, and otherwise we recycle it.”
Lansing Community College no preference sophomore Konar Nokken helps a customer put paperwork into a confidential shredding bin Oct. 7, 2013, during the Community ReUse Days at the MSU Surplus Store and Recycling Center. Community members came to drop off materials to be resold or recycled. Danyelle Morrow/The State News
Campus Sustainability Month will take place throughout October, with multiple events taking place.
The store doesn’t accept hazardous or chemical waste, but it is a good source for electronic waste that can be incredibly harmful to the environment.
“We’re a good alternative to a landfill for students’ computers,” Ives said. “We take all the information off them and wipe the hard drives.”
Student employee Jacob Bell helps stock and sort materials from the back dock and into the warehouse and store — no small feat in the 70,000 square-foot facility — and discussed some of the unique items he’s seen on the job.
“I mean, there’s a sailboat sitting right outside,” Bell said. “There’s all sorts of things people wouldn’t expect.”
“We had someone bring in a complete horse skeleton once,” Ives added. “If you think of MSU as a small city, we take all the things a city doesn’t need anymore, and that includes materials from businesses like hotels, restaurants and even museums.”
The store itself is a thrift shop of sorts full of recycled items, featuring everything from lightly used candles from the MSU Alumni Chapel to 1940s antique milk jugs, said Michael Chapman, who works as a cashier at the Surplus Store.
“We got a lot of items when MSU closed Brook Lodge, we get materials from department clean outs,” Chapman said. “There’s a lot of unique pieces.”
In the store, MSU sports fans can browse collections of antique, game-worn jerseys. Science majors can find lab equipment and glassware at a lower cost and comic lovers can sort through archived, special collection comic books. The store also deals art, researching incoming pieces to price them properly for interested buyers.
Chapman said the MSU Surplus Store also helps support the local economy.
“We have local artists come in to buy materials for paintings and sculptures, and we have a local florist who comes in to buy vases,” Chapman said.