Surplus Store focuses on sustainability

GVL/Kevin Sielaff
GVSU Surplus Store

GVL/Kevin Sielaff GVSU Surplus Store

Shae Slaughter

As one of Grand Valley State University’s seven core values, sustainability is an important part of everyday campus life. $45 million or more is spent on sustainability annually, including things like construction, renovation and minority vendor purchases according to GVSU’s website. Since its inception about three years ago, the GVSU Surplus Store has been an important part of the university’s sustainability efforts.

Located near the Pew Campus on Front Avenue, the Surplus Store provides a variety of services to faculty, students and also the public. The store’s main focus is on the resale of university equipment, which then reduces the amount of waste that has to be sent to landfills said Aaron Caccamo, senior strategic sourcing specialist and Rebecca Ramos, assistant manager. Around 12 different materials are recycled by the store including things like metals, eWaste and plastic with the help of Padnos recycling centers. To date, the Surplus Store has been responsible for recycling 101,269 pounds of scrap metal and 24,366 pounds of e-waste.

Items are given to the Surplus Store when a university facility feels that they are no longer of use and then submits a request for them to be either picked up or dropped off. When items are first procured by the Surplus Store, a few different steps are taken. All items are cleaned, organized and listed at a reasonable price. Electronic devices are also tested for any flaws which may exist, if possible, and then labeled as such.

The items start listed at a quality price, but items are reduced if they go a long time without being purchased. Though they don’t bargain, store workers are also willing to work with customers on some prices. Purchasing is made even easier by the online listing of some of the store’s items. To see the full array of items up for purchase, the store has walk-in hours from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Wednesdays. Appointments can also be set up on other days, with a phone call or email to the store.

The store sells a wide variety of items including computers, phones, binders, chairs and desks. These items range from brand new to gently used. The inventory is constantly changing and the store even got some workout equipment added into their inventory recently Ramos said.

The store is looking to add new projects this year. Ramos is interested in initiating some DIY projects in the store to show customers how well the items can truly be revamped and utilized.

The store is run by students for the most part, so students can become part of the team as opportunities become available. Students can also participate in the store by purchasing items either online or in person. Any money that is raised by the purchase of these recycled items is then sent back into the school after operating costs are deducted.

“(The store) provides an avenue for the university to accumulate revenue from items no longer in use,” Ramos and Caccamo said.

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