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Dean of Admission Paul Steenis moves into a new office in Knox College's Alumni Hall.


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Ford Center for the Fine Arts

Multi-Office Move Leaves Nothing Wasted

Reuse, recycling saves money and resources

January 26, 2015

Dean of Admission Paul Steenis moves into a new office in Knox College's Alumni Hall.

As eight offices with nearly 50 employees moved into Knox College's recently renovated Alumni Hall, there's one thing that was left behind. Gone are the days of throwing tons of moving-related materials into the trash, according to college officials who managed a "waste-free" move.

Capping a year-long, $12-million renovation, the office move was accomplished in time for winter term classes that began earlier this month. Tons of materials were diverted for reuse or recycling.

"We completely eliminated the need to rent a dumpster, and even the most 'wasteful' department generated little more than a single 55-gallon can of items that had to be thrown away," said Froggi VanRiper, Director of Campus Sustainability Initiatives.

"Thousands of pounds of material have been repurposed in various ways," Van Riper said. The college simply refused to buy new boxes, just for offices to use in the move. "We collected over 1500 boxes from other campus operations and reused them for moving, which kept an equivalent amount of raw material from re-entering the solid waste cycle."

It's estimated that reusing boxes saved over $3,000 and reduced environmental impact by 2,300 pounds of carbon-dioxide, 17,700 gallons of water, and 2,250 pounds of raw tree fiber. Garments and household items were taken to the Free Store, Galesburg Rescue Mission, and other local family aid organizations.

It's estimated that recycling diverted two tons of material that otherwise would have gone to the landfill, while reuse donations diverted one ton of material. Perhaps the most distinctive reuse donation -- kids at a local daycare center were happy to get one office's obsolete ink stamps.

One of the largest operations to move into Alumni Hall is the 20-member Office of Admission, formerly located in the Ford Center for the Fine Arts.

"The Sustainability Office was an awesome partner -- communicated ahead of time about reusing and recycling, so we didn't have to pitch things," said Norma Rodriguez, senior administrative assistant in the Office of Admission. "They got us everything that we needed, and even sent student workers to handle the materials in our storage area for recycling, so that we could keep working on the things that needed to be moved to the new offices."

How Knox Made a Waste-Free Office Move and Other Reusable Tips from Sustainability Director Froggi Van Riper

  • Instead of buying special moving boxes with space for written labels, "we created color-coded labels for each destination. Movers don't have to look for a label -- just look for the bright colored tag. It's a really efficient way to make a used box function for your purposes."
  • Keep office paper separate from other waste. "White office paper is actually a valuable recyclable commodity, if it doesn't have to be sorted out from other mixed recyclables. If you put it into a separate stream, you can get paid for it."
  • Learn where to recycle. "We created a document that explained what things we pay to have recycled, and what we get paid for. It showed everyone where and how to be conservative. For example, we found that even personal care items can be recycled and reused by the Family Crisis Center in Galesburg."

More Pics at Flickr: Knox Admission Counselors show off something special that they moved from their old office to new quarters in Alumni Hall.

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Printed on Tuesday, October 23, 2018