May 24, 2007

Dump Your Waste on Students!

I just received a really nice email from the editor of a local book publisher who has found a fantastic, simple, easy, efficient way to get rid of a large portion of the company's waste.

When bringing a book to print, publishers create what they call dummies: mock-ups of a book that demonstrate where everything will go, often with blank pages. These books get tossed in the trash or, less frequently, recycled, once the book goes to print. Weldon Owen is no exception to this practice, and the company was faced with hundreds of dummies piling up and destined for the trash heap.

Cue the editor, who contacted a local parents group to see if they could use these books. The response was incredible:
"Oh. My God...dozens of folks wrote back, saying they'd love to have dummies for schools or summer art programs. I just brought the dummies home (probably 400 or more—once I started getting the avalanche of responses, I sent round an all-company e-mail, asking everyone to clean out their stashes), stacked them in my driveway, and sent an e-mail to all the people who'd responded, saying 'Come and get 'em!' In one weekend, all the dummies were gone, and I got several e-mails from folks asking if there were going to be any more, because their school could use more."
So not only did Weldon Owen get all those useless books off their hands, but they gave a large number of kids art supplies. Talk about two birds with one stone. So if you're a publisher looking to unload a number of dummies, contact teachers and parents groups. And if your a parent who needs some cool blank books for kids, try reaching ou to a local publisher and ask if you can have their dummies.

And here's a list of organizations who take "waste" and use it to make art:
Can't find a materials exchange organization near you? Try contacting your local trash pick-up; often they have recycling and materials reclamation programs that aren't well advertised.

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5 Comment(s)

Anonymous Anonymous said...

there's a scrap in portland too!

12:24 PM  
Anonymous fathima said...

at the last university i attended, the student bookstore created these things called "trashbooks." basically they were notebooks made from paper that had been used on one side. so excess photocopies, messed up print outs, etc. i actually saw some flyers i'd made for a anti-tuition deregulation meeting in a few. and what was amazing was how popular the books were. i mean, these where mostly pretty affluent kids and they were willing to buy these funky, "used" books.

8:23 PM  
Blogger Jessie Jane said...

When we rethink the definition of "trash" and concepts like "used," we end up with far more options and possibilities don't we?

One of the most important things we can do is change something as simple as our own perception: Am I really done with this? What else can this be used for? Might someone else find a use for this?


9:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

May 23, 2007 9:43 AM
Anonymous said...

Get this!! I work at a non profit that received a donation of brand new items (value $500.00) each. Great right? These items were pulled from the Costco truck headed to the dump. Also on this run were grills (one brand new returned only because someone did not like the color)one worth 1,000.00!! They were required to take this to the dump and exchange it for scrape metal. There has to be a better way? I know the same thing happens at many retail stores. Office Max employees are required to destroy returned items (such as expensive office chairs) because they can not resale them. Even if these chairs might be useful to someone else.

Retail store waste/destroy perfectly decent merchandise for fear of lawsuits and if they donate the merchandise they fear they may need to give someone a refund (if a recite is required then this should be a non-issue, right??).

I see nothing on the web concerning this....truly this is beyond wasteful! Wasteful of time, energy, resources and finances!

12:27 PM  
Blogger Vanessa said...

Publishers have got to be one of the worst offenders when it comes to wasting paper (and I work at a newspaper, which is bad enough) -- it's great to hear that some smarties are thinking green about their dummies.

3:11 PM  

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