Behind the Scenes
Benefits of the Trash to Treasure Program
It's for a good cause:
Trash to Treasure makes it easy for students to help the local community, and all proceeds go to the Centre County United Way and its member organizations.
It's good for the environment:
It reduces the amount of waste the University puts into the landfill.
It's good for town/gown relations:
The program gives residents of the State College community the opportunity to purchase usable items at a very low cost.
The Collection and Sorting Effort
Office of Physical Plant employees, assisted by United Way volunteers, collect items from the residence halls and transport them to the sale location. Items are sorted by community volunteers. Key elements of the effort included:
- The Office of Physical Plant works closely with Housing to ensure that pick-ups are scheduled only when barrels were full, thus minimizing labor/equipment costs
- In preparation for sorting, volunteers set up 400 tables
- Residence hall collections start before finals and run through the final day of hall occupancy
- Volunteer coordinators supervise 400+ volunteers
Several thousand shoppers—including 2,000+ annually who paid the $5 "early-bird" admission fee—attended the June sale each year. Strategies employed on sale day included:
- Items are sorted into different "departments" (clothes, toys, etc.) to make shopping easier.
- Prices are reviewed annually for fairness and often compared against local yard sale prices.
- Unsold items were donated to local charities.
The Trash to Treasure program has had a very significant impact on our community. Annually, this event:
- Averages 68 tons of donated items annually.
- Saves Penn State over $14,000 in labor and equipment costs annually.
- Brings in over 500 volunteers.
First Year (2002)
72 tons donated
Second Year (2003)
69 tons donated
Third Year (2004)
80 tons donated
Fourth Year (2005)
73 tons donated
Fifth Year (2006)
66 tons donated
Sixth Year (2007)
65.4 tons donated
Seventh Year (2008)
61.2 tons donated
Eighth Year (2009)
63.4 tons donated
Ninth Year (2010)
Tenth Year (2011)
Eleventh Year (2012)