FreeStuff: York students reduce waste during residence move-out

free stuff poster

free stuff poster A new pilot project at York University is finding new homes for old stuff.

Created to reduce waste during the annual student move-out period, the FreeStuff project is a joint initiative between Housing Services, Residence Life, Waste Management and the President’s Sustainability Council.

During the month of April, FreeStuff tables were set up in each of the University’s undergraduate residences. Students were encouraged to share unwanted items prior to moving out of residence for the summer. At the end of the month, all remaining items were donated to the Oasis Clothing Bank.

“This project is win-win-win,” says Meagan Heath, waste management supervisor with York’s Campus Services & Business Operations. “It makes it easier for students to get rid of things that they no longer need or to find things that they can use. It reduces the amount of waste going to landfill and it also benefits a great charity like Oasis, which ends up with a large donation of usable items.”

Clothing, household items and books made up most of the items collected, but the FreeStuff tables also accumulated printers and other electronic items. Used batteries were gathered in designated battery bins to ensure proper disposal.

Overall, the results of FreeStuff showed the number of items collected was about 40 per cent higher than the same period in 2011.

A FreeStuff table in the Calumet College residence laundry roomA FreeStuff table in the Calumet College residence laundry room

“It was great to see so many items exchanging hands or being donated to a worthwhile cause,” said Monica Pegg, manager of building operations with York Housing Services. “The students really took to this initiative and, given the success of this pilot, there are already plans to bring it back next year.”

For more information on FreeStuff or other sustainability initiatives at York University, visit the Sustainability website, or contact Andrew Plunkett, sustainability project coordinator, at, or Pavel Graymason, sustainability engagement coordinator, at