The College Junk Removal Problem: Preparing for Back-to-School Waste

As sustainability has become a must-have instead of a nice-to-have, colleges around the country are eager to find ways to reduce waste at school. But when it comes to college junk removal, move-in week can prove to be a challenging time to meet institutional sustainability goals.

We Have a Waste Problem: Why Sustainable College Junk Removal Matters

With new students coming and going every semester, the waste generated is monumental. Just one student produces an average of 640 pounds of trash each year!

The beginning of a new semester is particularly challenging because students generate piles of waste during move-in and the two weeks that follow. Once the unpacking is over, universities must find a way to handle loads of cardboard boxes, discarded junk (furniture, small appliances, etc.), old clothes, and e-waste including computers and cell phones.

At the end of the semester, students leave an average of 230 tons of junk or unwanted belongings behind. In California alone, universities produce a whopping 562,442 tons of waste every year, and roughly half of it is organic or recyclable material.

It’s no wonder that even some of the best-intentioned schools struggle with responsibly handling their waste. If your institution doesn’t have a plan for ensuring that recyclables are diverted away from landfills, then the chances are that much of it will end up there.

How Colleges Can Rethink Their Junk Removal Process

There’s no shortage of ideas for colleges and universities to reduce waste at school. More than likely, though, it will take a combination of various strategies to create a sustainability program your faculty and students will comply with.

When considering these solutions, the following factors can help you identify the ones that make the most sense for your school.


Universities should be at the forefront of technological solutions toward waste reduction. The good news is, some sustainability vendors are using technology to tackle recycling and junk removal challenges.

For example, CheckSammy’s SmartBINS use sensors that give real-time updates on fill levels. These consumer goods recycling bins can be placed in student common areas or near dumpsters. Once a bin reaches 85% full, the company is automatically notified to come and pick it up, so you never have to worry about overflowing bins.

Technology can also be used to more effectively sort and divert reusables and recyclables to ensure waste is redirected to its proper location. Organizations then receive authenticated, verifiable data that shows exactly what happened with each item. Using this data, universities can demonstrate their environmental impact and prove they handled their waste responsibly.

Bins like these can be used during busy times (like at the beginning and end of the semester), or they can be offered year-round to divert as much reusable waste away from landfills as possible, thereby enabling you to make more progress toward your own sustainability goals.

On-Demand or Subscription-Based College Junk Removal

On-demand or subscription-based college junk removal services are excellent options for removing big items (like furniture and mattresses) as well as for overflow days. On-demand junk removal companies come to you when you need them, pick up, sort, and divert your junk. Afterward, they send you a report detailing waste diversions, photos, weights, and other metrics.

Subscription-based and on-demand services can potentially be customized to create a college junk removal program that fits your needs and budget.

Textile Recycling

Textile waste is one of the most significant contributors to landfill overflow. The right waste management partner will be able to establish an ongoing sustainability program for your university’s textiles. For example, placing a bin in a common area where students can toss unwanted clothes, linens, and other textiles instead of throwing them into dumpsters is a simple way to get students involved in your sustainability efforts.

Any recycled textiles that are still useable can even be donated to local charities and re-sale shops. Textiles that are past their prime can be sent to specialty recycling centers, where they are recycled and used for padding, paper products, cleaning supplies, industrial blankets, and more.

Get Started with a Custom College Junk Removal Program

There’s no shortage of waste management companies offering sustainability programs. But once they haul off your waste, do you actually know what happens to it?

With CheckSammy, you don’t just get college junk removal. You also get a sustainability partner that uses technology to make the process easier for you, can customize a program for your needs, and is a valuable community contributor.

Plus, with our unparalleled metrics and authenticated data, you will have the evidence you need to show that your school is actually doing what you’re saying. Many colleges claim to be sustainable, but with CheckSammy’s college junk removal program, you can prove it.

Are you looking for help handling your school’s move-in week waste and more? Contact us to learn more about our custom solutions.

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Create a custom solution to meet your waste and sustainability goals. Contact us today!

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