RAMPing Up Sustainability: “Greening” the July Move Out Season

Hello, everyone! My name is Laurelin, and I’m a Special Initiatives intern in the Office of Sustainability! I’m back today with a wrap-up post on the Rummage RAMPage, a city-wide rummage sale that helped divert household items from the landfill while raising money for local nonprofits! Check out the rest of the post to learn more about the event!


The end of July can be a stressful time for renters – especially in a college town. Students who have stuck around for the summer have a few weeks to move to different living spaces for the upcoming school year. Ames streets are filled with moving trucks stacked high with boxes, and unwanted furniture is left behind on the curb.

During these weeks, the Ames Resource Recovery Plant (RRP) often sees an influx of couches, wooden furniture, clothing, and more as renters attempt to meet their move out requirements. The Ames RRP is a waste-to-energy facility that receives garbage from Ames and surrounding communities, and the burnable portion of the refuse is used as renewable and local fuel to generate electricity. Unfortunately many move out items, such as large furniture, are classified as non-burnable material that is not beneficial to the Resource Recovery System and is sent to the landfill.

I experienced the hustle and bustle of July move-out season for myself this past year. Because I was working in Ames I lived in university housing over the summer, and at the end of July I was preparing to move out of my old apartment into a new space for the fall semester.

Looking around my apartment, I faced a dilemma: What should I do with my old household items that I wanted to throw away but were too large for my trashcan? I wanted to move out sustainably, but didn’t know how to put my old electronics and furniture to good use in the community.

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The showroom of the Rummage RAMPage was located in the Ames Intermodal Facility

Luckily, the City of Ames had a solution – the 2016 Rummage RAMPage was held in the Ames Intermodal Facility parking ramp from July 29th to August 2nd, and the five-day event gave everyone in the Ames community a chance to reduce the amount of material sent to the landfill by partnering reusable household goods with new owners!

The Intermodal Facility was transformed into a showroom with separate sections for couches and chairs, dining sets, exercise equipment, cabinets and storage, and small household items. Once items were purchased, they were set aside in a separate area.

Throughout the event, volunteers kept the event running smoothly by manning a cash register, pricing items, and loading items in and out of the showroom.

As a community member, the donation process was simple. Donors could either drop off their items in person at the Intermodal Facility or pay a small fee to have volunteers pick up their items from their curb. And visitors purchasing items were able to conveniently park next to the showroom and load their new items into their vehicle.

The items that were accepted at the Rummage RAMPage included furniture, small electronics, flat screen televisions, housewares, kitchenware, and non-perishable food. All items were “priced to move,” at $1, $5, $10, and $20, and the proceeds were divided up among the non-profit volunteer groups that donated their time to the event.

By the end of the week, the Rummage RAMPage had managed to:

  • Divert 22 tons of furniture and housewares out of the landfill
  • Raise almost $6,000 for local non-profit agencies

I spent some time working at the Rummage RAMPage on the very first day it was held, and I was absolutely taken aback by the community’s outpouring of support for the event. As I moved couches, tables, exercise equipment, entertainment systems, and even the occasional child’s viola into the showroom, I couldn’t believe how many people were willing to donate their items to a good cause!

The level of excitement continued to grow throughout the week as the sales began. Items brought in were quickly turned over to new owners – and some items didn’t even make it to the showroom floor before they found a new home!

It was a lot of fun to walk through the showroom each day and check out the new arrivals. There were so many hidden treasures that caught my eye, including a bright pink exercise bike and a homemade ice cream maker. And towards the end of the event I purchased a used door mat for my apartment that’s sensible and matches my decor!

The Green Umbrella President, Megan, as well as Live Green! interns Kathryn and Sindhuja also volunteered during the event! Check out their stories and most memorable moments below:

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Megan Kathryn Sindhuja
The Rummage RAMPage was a truly unique experience. Part of what made the event so incredibly unique is that each day I got to watch items that would have sat in someone’s garage or gone to the landfill become re-purposed into something much more useful. A group of us got creative and would talk to visitors about how they could fix up different items in order to make them more functional or beautiful. People thought we were a little ridiculous, but it was fun and several folks liked our creativity enough to try it for themselves! It was amazing to see how many community members donated their items instead of selling them for few extra dollars or simply throwing them away. It was a wonderful to watch the selflessness of the donors and see the joy on visitors’ faces as they were able to afford and purchase lightly used furniture and other household items. I worked one of the last days of the Rummage RAMPage, and I was completely surprised that items were being donated and sold almost until the last minute of the event. Each person who attended the event expressed how much they enjoyed it and encouraged us to host the event again! One of the most powerful parts of volunteering at Rummage RAMPage was seeing all the happy faces of the visitors after finding and purchasing a hidden treasure. The event felt a little chaotic at times, especially during the peak hours of the RAMPage over the weekend. But the wonderful efforts of volunteers helped to keep the event running smoothly. Members from various service groups did everything from pricing donations to loading up buyers’ cars. The event was truly a great showcase of the community coming together!

Event planners are already working on Rummage RAMPage 2017 beginning at the end of July and extending into early August, so if you missed the event this year there will be many opportunities in the future to participate!

Hold onto your old couches, bed frames, tables, electronics, lamps, microwaves and more and donate them to next year’s Rummage RAMPage event! And who knows? You might even find new-to-you treasures to take back home!


Written by Laurelin Haas, Live Green! Special Initiatives Intern

Check out more pictures of the event at our Live Green! Facebook album.

Learn more about the event at KCCI.com!

 

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