Surplus Property: An Untapped Resource for University Waste Diversion and Revenue Generation

Universities across the country continue to prioritize sustainability and a drive towards zero-waste among their top initiatives. According to the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), “the most successful campus waste reducers have established challenging waste reduction goals and are implementing broad and numerous initiatives to achieve those goals.1

From our experience working with and visiting colleges and universities across the country, surplus operations can play a large role in increasing waste diversion while generating revenue for their institutions. Surplus Management Software is an important piece of the puzzle in that it allows institutions of higher learning the ability to (1) focus more time on revenue generating initiatives by streamlining everyday operations and (2) make strategic decisions based on the measured results of each initiative.

Here are a few examples of how some institutions of higher learning are attacking the triple bottom line and making an environmental, social, and financial impact with surplus:

Breaking Down Computers: While some institutions pay to have old or broken computers picked up and recycled, others are taking the time to remove the parts that have value. Some R2 certified recyclers will pay to take everything from processors and memory to entire units off of your hands.

Online Auction & Public Sale: There is great potential to make money through online auctions, live auctions, and public sales. A 2015 study of 10 University Surplus Property Association members identified schools generating between $190,000 and $3,000,000 in annual surplus sales, moving as much as 6500 tons of surplus assets through their operation annually.

Redistribution back on campus: Cost avoidance is a sometimes overlooked measure of the value of surplus property. Not only does getting a desk, chair, or file cabinet back on campus keep it out of the landfill but it saves the University from having to buy a new one and having to pay to have the asset disposed.

These are just a few of the ways colleges and universities across the country are making money and diverting waste from landfills through surplus property. Check out these infographics for more great ways institutions of higher learning are approaching sustainability and surplus property.

Infographic: Surplus in the ACC
Infographic: Surplus in the PAC 12

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