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Aggie ReStore, where 'waste' isn't really waste at all


By Dateline staff

Sustainability for sale

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Photos by Gregory Urquiaga/UC Davis

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The Aggie ReStore, "a campus reuse store," appreciates donations of “gently-used/worn, unwanted items,” but advises that in-store donations are not accepted.

Instead, you should bring your goods to monthly dropoff tabling events on the Quad (check the store’s Facebook page for donation dates), or make an appointment to deliver your goods to the Aggie ReStore storage unit.

Proceeds from the sale of donated goods will go toward store operations and future programming, the store’s website states.

Check the website for donation guidelines and for lists of items the store would love to receive, and items that the store will not accept.

The website also includes information about how you can get involved, as a volunteer or intern.

UC talks a lot about technology transfer to the real world. Now the ASUCD is doing some transferring of its own: turning a design faculty member’s class into a real-world business called the Aggie ReStore. It sells used goods, thus keeping them out of the landfill — in another example of UC Davis’ Sustainable 2nd Century.

The store is based on the work of Ann Savageau, associate professor, who says “waste” isn’t really waste at all, but a source of endless creative possibilities, as demonstrated by the students in her “Sustainable Design” classes.

Savageau joined forces with Carol Shu, teaching assistant in Design 127A last winter, and a graduate student in textiles, Margot Bennett, to develop the Aggie ReStore. They connected with the ASUCD through then-Sen. Darwin Moosavi, a senior major in environmental policy analysis and planning, who had been advocating for such a store.

Shu said the store “is an example of an amazingly large, collaborative effort on the part of many different people on campus who understood what we envisioned … and even if they couldn’t picture it, they were willing to suspend their disbelief to let us try our ideas out.”

The tryout begins today (Jan. 18) with the Aggie ReStore’s “soft opening.” A grand opening celebration is planned a week later, Jan. 25. The store is in Room 163 of the Memorial Union, across from Classical Notes and Campus Copies in the east wing.

The inventory includes school and office supplies, arts and craft materials, and clothing. Even the store’s furnishings show how discards can be repurposed and reused. You can also get some cool decorating ideas: for example, an assembly of plywood and boards, in the shape of a tree, with “leaves” that originally served as paint chips.

Said Savageau: “I love the look of the store because it is so attractive. The way the students have incorporated all sorts of used materials into the furnishing is very imaginative and demonstrates how we can reuse all sorts of unlikely things, from bicycle wheels to old library boxes.”

According to an ASUCD news release, the Aggie ReStore serves two purposes: selling goods at low prices, to help students deal with rising costs of tuition and other expenses; and supporting Savageau’s mission to spread environmental awareness through creative reuse.

“Aggie ReStore gives students a convenient alternative to purchasing expensive new supplies and products … and it provides a way for students to show and sell handcrafted items made with recycled materials,” the news release states.

The Aggie ReStore also aims to support and build partnerships in furtherance of making UC Davis a zero-waste campus.

“I really hope that the Aggie ReStore will inspire a stronger sense of sustainability and reuse at Davis, and it would be great to see reuse stores open up on the other UC campuses, too,” Shu said.

The store plans to develop creative reuse programs and events, as a way to educate students on the benefits of reusing materials “and bring awareness to the dire need to consume less new stuff,” the news release states.

“We would like Aggie ReStore to be an example of environmentally responsible business practices and sustainable living.”

The Aggie ReStore is open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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