You can create less waste by reusing things a second or third time.  Or you can donate items you no longer want or need so that someone else can continue using them.

Once a thing or a product exists, the sum total of all the energy that it took to produce that item can be considered to still be with it as “embodied energy.”   By choosing to reuse or repurpose items, you are conserving all of the energy it will take to produce and get another item to you.
At Williams     |     On an Individual Level     |      Donations     |     Computer Equipment

On a Campus Level

This table is made from interior walls of the old Kellogg House. The chairs are made from plastic bottles.

This table is made from interior walls of the old Kellogg House. The chairs are made from plastic bottles.

Leading sustainable building certification programs – like LEED and Living Building Challenge – encourage the reuse of materials.  Cement from demolished buildings can be ground up to be used for gravel fill for buildings or parking lots.  Wall boards can be reused for tables. We reclaimed Vermont slate used in a building that was set to be demolished and used it in a different building. Williams repurposes furniture by utilizing a small warehouse and looking for opportunities to reuse them on campus or to donate them.  If the “bones” of the furniture are deemed to be good, furniture is usually re-upholstered or re-finished.  We also sometimes move and reuse buildings.


On a Personal Level

A former beehive as a desk

A former beehive as a desk

Many items can live a good second life by performing functional or aesthetic duties.  Reuse options can be incredibly basic to incredibly elaborate.  You could spend many days spinning through countless Pinterest pages, including this “Upcycle & Repurpose Ideas” page.

  • Rather than ditching an old coffee cup, could you instead use it as a pencil holder or a vase.
  • Tattered t-shirts can be further torn up to make rags
  • Turn trash into musical instruments like Sammi Stone ’17, the Zilkha Center artist in residence did in the summer of 2015.

Have a suggestion about a good way to reuse something?  Tell us about it and upload a photo if you have one.  We’ll add it to the list.


clothing donationDonations

Through donations, others can make use of things that you no longer want or use.

  • A Better Chance (ABC) in Paresky – clothing only
  • donating it to a local consignment or thrift store, such as the Minvera Arts Center in Williamstown or Goodwill in North Adams.
  • Give It Up – Pass on unwanted items at move-out time by donating it to ABC through the Give It Up program


Computer equipment

GreenUp Computer Recycling Program – Members of the Willams community can pass on and recycle personal computing equipment at the end of the school year.  Equipment which can be reused will be refurbished by OIT and donated to local schools and non-profit organizations. The rest will be removed by a recycling firm.  The college covers the cost of this recycling.


Recycling & Reusing Construction Waste

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“Deconstructing Deconstruction: Is a Ton of Material Worth a Ton of Work?” by Boyd, Stevenson, and Augenbraun