KSU students volunteer at Akron’s ZeroLandfill


Sophomore Interior Design major Savanah Dimovski brings in new boxes at the Zero Landfill event in Akron on Saturday, Feb. 9. Dimovski volunteers for her major as part of the Interior Design Student Collaborative. Zero Landfill is a chance for people to contribute scrap crafting items, often interior design related, and to take any items that interest them in prevention of sending it to landfills instead. Photo by Jenna Watson.

Anna Lemmon

Kent State’s Interior Design Student Collaborative (IDSC) members volunteered Saturday at Akron’s ZeroLandfill project to recycle materials that are normally thrown away.

“The stuff comes from typically architecture and design firms,” said Katie Hauser, treasurer of the International Interior Design Association (IIDA) for the Ohio Kentucky Chapter, “It’s any of their outdated samples or materials, stuff they thought they might use in a project that [they] didn’t. Stuff gets outdated pretty quickly, and prior to this project it was all just thrown away.”

The ZeroLandfill project is sponsored by the IIDA. The program features “pollinating” and “harvesting” — people who drop off their unneeded materials, and people who anxiously pick them up, respectively. Materials include fabric, carpet, metal, glass, tile, wood, wall coverings and many others. The materials are free to take.

“Cars are pulling up and dropping off samples just so it doesn’t get thrown away,” said Audrey Ruikka, Kent State IIDA chapter president. “A lot of teachers will come and pick up this stuff and use it for art projects or something, so it’s really cool they can repurpose it.”

The materials are up for grabs to anyone, not just designers. Beth Lutz, Kent State alumna, is a scenic arts teacher at Ravenna High School. Also serving as the drama advisor, she comes to every Akron ZeroLandfill to get free materials for theater scenery.

“I have actually filled my car. The students help me unload it at the high school, then we sort it so we can find it when we need it,” Lutz said. “We did 200 linear feet of fabric backdrops, for free, and we still have it.”

Ruikka said the event usually has certain times to drop off, and later times to pick up. The volunteers had much to do as “pollinating” and “harvesting” happened all at once.

“First priority is to help unload people’s cars if they’re here to drop off,” Hauser said. “Otherwise, we treat it like a little store inside and merchandise things, make sure it’s easy to get to, make sure it’s attractive to make them want to dive into that pile.”

Ruikka and other student volunteers may be doing themselves a favor for the future. ZeroLandfill brings the opportunity to network with more experienced volunteers.

“A lot of the older helpers are actually a part of professional organizations,” Ruikka said. “There’s a lot of professionals here.”

Tony Troppe owns the building used for ZeroLandfill in Akron, located on West North Street. He also owns the nearby Cascade Lofts and much of the surrounding development. “He owned the property we used the last couple of years on High Street, but he graciously found a new spot for us,” Hauser said.

When the High Street building became occupied, Troppe let ZeroLandfill use another of his properties, again for free.

ZeroLandfill takes place every Saturday of February from 9 a.m. until noon.

Contact Joe Smith at [email protected].