Rutgers University

Got junk? Rutgers students do

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Discarded love seat and grill and other property sits outside an off-campus student apartment, the items lefts after the students moved out. Credits: Tom Haydon
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One of many mattresses discarded on a street in New Brunswick after students leave an off-campus apartment. Credits: Tom Haydon
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New Brunswick sanitation workers haul away hairs and other items from a pile left outside an apartment house. Credits: Tom Haydon
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One of several rental trucks seen on a recent day on the streets where Rutgers University students live in off-campus apartments. Credits: Tom Haydon
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Couch that is a little worse for wear is left by the curb outside an apartment house. Credits: Tom Haydon
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More than 10-foot stretch of discarded property left on the curb outside an apartment house. Credits: Tom Haydon
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Plastic storage bins discarded on the curb, with a can of shaving cream still left in one of the bins. Credits: Tom Haydon
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NEW BRUNSWICK - On a thin tripod of supports, the black charcoal grill sat on top of love seat that was half on the street, half on the curb, outside a Delafield Street apartment.

As the college year ends, and this generation of Rutgers students empty out of apartments, their well-used but now discarded remains line city curbs, and sometimes spill into city streets.

“This is crazy. They’re killing us,” said one red-faced city sanitation worker on Thursday as he drove away after removing a 10-foot-long mound of junk from in front of student apartments.

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Despite the city's best efforts, and a whole lot of patience, some streets are still dealing with what looks like a mass exodus.

Mattresses, chairs, bed frames, dressers, broken drawers from dressers, sofas, and stackable plastic storage bins - some with toiletries such as aerosol shaving cream still left inside - sat on curbs in the Sixth Ward, on side streets off Easton Avenue near the Rutgers University College Avenue campus this week.

Smaller mounds were also left outside apartments houses blocks away, near the Cook and Douglas campuses.

As city sanitation workers went through the neighborhoods, U-Haul rental trucks sat outside off-campus apartment houses where parents and friends helped the students haul their stuff out. 

The Class of 2018 joins a tried-and-true tradition of generating a ton of stuff, all of which has to go very quickly to make room for the next round of students to occupy these off-campus homes.
 
In response, each year city officials try reducing the level of discarded items through "Project Move Out," a period when students can sign-up to have large items picked-up.

“The purpose of Project Move Out is to provide bulk pick-up and avoid a lot of those piles,” said city spokeswoman Jennifer Bradshaw.

“We had a lot of registrants this year,” she added.

This year, students in off-campus apartments had bulk items, including furniture, appliances, textiles, and electronic items, picked up May 23-25 during the flurry of graduation events.

Students had to register for pick-ups by May 22. Once registered, the students were given a date for a collection and could only put items out after 5 p.m. the day before.

This year, 482 people registered for pick-ups.

The city recycles items or transfers them for beneficial reuse when possible to reduce the amount going to a landfill.

Students who improperly dispose of their discarded property in violation of  municipal ordinances face the possibility of fines ranging from $500 too $2,000.

 

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