Trash2Treasure aims to rescue students' cast-offs from McGill Ghetto sidewalks
'When you walk [around] at the end of the exams, there's so much stuff,' said student Charlotte Fauqueux
There's a special kind of perennial that lines the sidewalks of Montreal's Milton Park district this time of year — and no, we don't mean flowers.
The moment exams end, piles of personal belongings and furniture sprout up, left behind by university students who wrap up their academic year and head home, in haste.
Landlords have seen it all.
This year, a pilot project called Trash2Treasure is putting cast-off furniture to good use.
A collaboration between the Students' Society of McGill University (SSMU), the Office of the Dean of Students, and environmental groups such as SAESEM, among others, Trash2Treasure picks up furniture from students' homes and distributes it to thrift shops like Renaissance or organizations that deal with asylum seekers.
The aim is to reduce waste while doing a good deed, said Gabriel Townsend Darriau, a project participant, who's seen people put perfectly good stuff out on the street.
"Then it rains, and it gets ruined," he said.
Student's trash, someone else's treasure
After dispatching a group of volunteers to scheduled appointments across the neighbourhood, Darriau hopped in an electric car and drove to his first pick-up of the day.
It's the apartment of third-year student Charlotte Fauqueux.
"We have clothes, all these coffee tables and this bed. Oh, and this desk! And another desk," said Fauqueux, pointing out furniture.
As Darriau called for more volunteers to move the sizeable haul, Fauqueux explained that if not for Trash2Treasure, most of the furniture would probably have found itself on the curb.
The end of the school year hasn't left her much time to sell or give away the furniture online.
"It's so much effort, and you have to co-ordinate, and be at home when the people come to pick it up. This is just a lot easier," said Fauqueux.
Hope for project to continue
Fauqueux isn't the only one impressed with the service.
Though the program is only in its first year, as of May 1, some 50 students had already signed up for a visit from Trash2Treasure.
A $20 deposit is required to use the service, which will run until May 6.
And with neighbourhood support from the Milton Park Citizens' Committee and $15,000 in funding from the SSMU, there is hope the program could return for another year if it's successful.
For some, like Angie Koinis, the program is already working wonders.
She praised the program as she looked over a list of asylum seekers who will eventually receive some of the furniture Trash2Treasure has collected.