From Trash to Treasure: Responsible Management of Surplus School Furniture

In MA, school renovations and demolitions often result in thousands of unwanted desks, tables and chairs, cabinets and shelves getting thrown into our landfills and incinerators. Choosing alternative environmentally friendly disposal solutions is catching on. Such solutions can save a school district money and result in a quicker project and a cleaner, safer job site.

The Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) and the MA Department of Environmental Protection (Mass DEP) joined forces to offer a free afternoon workshop called, "Trash to Treasure: Responsible Management of Surplus School Furniture." Held in Weston at the Field Elementary School on December 5th, the workshop featured Massachusetts school districts sharing their first-hand experiences with surplus furniture disposal. Representatives from Weston, Newton, and Pittsfield discussed strategies and processes used by their districts to inventory surplus furniture items and locate companies experienced in the removal, reuse, and recycling of unwanted furniture. Each school district opted to ensure that their trash was treasure for another educational institution locally, domestically or abroad. Additionally, we heard from the MassDEP about the importance of keeping furniture out of MA landfills as well as the Center for Environmental Technology (CET) and The Reuse Network (IRN) who shared resources available to assist school districts with planning and moving furniture off-site. The Office of the Inspector General conducted training on select procurement law procedures, including proper disposal procedures for surplus furniture and proper use of proprietary specifications and The Operational Services Division presented information about relevant pre-negotiated statewide contracts.

Please find the Agenda for the workshop and relevant PowerPoint presentations attached. Also please find the link to the webinar below:

Introduction Barbara Hansberry, Director, Strategic Planning, MSBA
Welcome Jack McCarthy, Executive Director/Deputy CEO, MSBA
Furniture Reuse: Environmental, Social and Economic Impacts Brooke Nash, Branch Chief of Municipal Waste Reduction, Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection
Furniture Dispoal - Planning is Key Paul Anastasi, Board Member, MA Facilities Administrator's Association
Weston's Model for Disposal of Surplus School Furniture Cindy Mahr, Assistant Superintendant for Finance and Operations, Wellesley (Recent Past Assistant Superintendant for Finance and Operations, Weston)
Case Studies of Furniture Reuse in MA Mark and Emerson Lennon, IRN
Best Management Practices Emily Fabel, Program Operations Manager, Center for Environmental Technology
Training M.G.L. c.30B - Disposal of Surplus Supplies - Use of Proprietary Specifications Natasha Bizanos, Senior Counsel, Regulatory & Compliance Division, MA Office of the Inspector General
Training - Available Pre-Negotiated Statewide Contracts Julia Wolfe, Director, Environmental Purchasing, Operations Services Division
Q&A Brooke Nash, MassDEP
Jack McCarthy, MSBA