Office supply drive saves thousands

The inaugural MCG precycling event was so successful that more than 300 items traded hands and organizers are already planning for expansion of the program.

“We got a lot of feedback, and it was all positive,” said Barbara Barton, Office Manager for Georgia Correctional Health Care.

Barton is a member of the Employee Advisory Council, which organized the event. “Everyone loved the idea; they were thrilled to either unload their supplies or walk away with items. They thought it was long overdue and they want to see more of them.”

The event allowed employees to pass on or pick up, for free, office supplies unwanted by other departments on campus. It promoted the exchange of items already in existence to extend their usefulness and keep them out of landfills.

“We were proud to be a part of it,” said Kevin Doyle, Director of Receiving and Distribution for Materials Management, whose department provided the equipment and manpower to host it.

Materials Management plans to hold regular precycling events on campus, in July and December. Doyle said those are the times of year when offices generally get an inventory.

The organizing team, which also included Maryann Dains-McGahee and the idea’s originator, Diana Flicek, estimate that participating departments saved a combined total of about $8,000.

“A lot of these items were brand spanking new. For them to be sitting in a storage closet is wasting money,” Barton said.

The university is looking to save more money in the future, hosting bi-annual precycling events every July and December. Materials Management already handles the campus surplus items, which are available to anyone to review on Wednesdays from 8:30-10:30 a.m. For directions to the warehouse, visit mcg.edu/supply/property/map.htm.

But the university will take it a step further in the future. The precycling section of the MCG Web site will post a running inventory of items available for reuse by departments. And the possible economic impact is inestimable. The world’s premier “precycling” organization, freecycle.org, reports that it moves more than 24,000 items per day through its nearly 7 million members. As a result, 700 tons of materials a day stay out of landfills.

Even before the next event, Barton urges employees to think before they buy, to help eliminate waste before it begins.

“You may be able to team up with other departments to buy in bulk,” she said. “It all comes down to cost savings. We have to save where we can.”

Visit mcg.edu/supply/precycling.html.

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