According to the US EPA Office of Solid Waste, Americans throw away more than 68lbs of clothing and textiles person person each year, which represents 4% of the municipal solid waste stream. Only 15% of discarded clothing is collected and prevented from entering directly into the waste stream. The Rescue Mission Thrift Project at TCNJ began with a simple idea and a big vision: reduce clothing waste while creating a market for thrift items on campus.
Soon, this idea and vision was transformed into a full-fledged social entrepreneurship project by Bonner Scholars. These Bonner Scholar Entrepreneurs are supporting the Rescue Mission of Trenton by selling the Mission Store’s items to a niche market – the campus community – and donating the profits back to the Rescue Mission. Bonners are also working with the President’s Climate Commitment Committee (PC3) to build a greener college community. The eco-friendly initiative will launch an on-campus thrift store and donation center connected to the Rescue Mission Store.
The purpose of the project is to:
- Advocate for sustainability by reducing waste;
- Support the local community by donating to the Rescue Mission of Trenton;
- Educate and serve the needs of the college community; and
- Create community engaged learning opportunities for TCNJ students.
Currently, Bonners are working with TCNJ to develop a plan for a permanent space, but in the meantime Scholars are launching several pop-up shops in the Student Center this year. The thrift store will be affordable and exciting for TCNJ students; you never know what you could find – a brand new flannel shirt, a neon 80s jacket, notebooks from Thailand or classic records!
TCNJ will join many other colleges and universities across the nation who have successfully introduced on-campus thrift stores with similar charitable missions. By promoting community engaged learning and reducing waste, along with nurturing a social entrepreneurship spirit, Bonner Scholar Entrepreneurs aim to bring something new, trendy and exciting to TCNJ.
See pictures from the most recent photo shoot below. These items and many others can be found at the Pop Up Shop!