A reformed dumpster diver has now turned her attention to other means to limit waste around Oregon State University.
Christine Dashiell, a Japanese translator who also volunteers in reuse and recycling efforts, was profiled in a June 2014 Gazette-Times story that focused on her retrieval of items from dumpsters.
Dashiell — and the newspaper — learned that such scavenging, even if it is undertaken with good intentions, is illegal because Republic Services owns any items that are in a dumpster or trash cart.
Undaunted, Dashiell came up with a plan for this year’s move-out of OSU students in fraternities and sororities that continues her goal of encouraging recycling and reuse.
In recent weeks Dashiell burned up the internet with emails and went door to door in the Greek neighborhoods north of campus distributing “move-out kits” that include a door hanger with plastic bags attached. The kits featured tips on how to handle particular items as well as her timeline for pick-ups destined for groups such as the Corvallis Families Gift Economy and the Corvallis Family Clothing Swap.
The payoff came this week as Dashiell, her husband, James, a freelance graphic designer, and volunteer Angie Weeks went door to door again and began filling up the Dashiell’s Subaru and Weeks’ sedan. The Gazette-Times tagged along on four Greek visits Friday afternoon.
“This is my first year and I’m learning a lot,” said Dashiell, armed with a clipboard and yellow note pad with her address list and contacts. “If I get some response this year I might get more help next year. Hopefully this will evolve into something bigger that could hopefully become a staple in the Greek chapters and beyond.”
The first stop was Sigma Phi Epsilon, where she was advised that the fraternity generally schedules its cleanup operations for early September. Dashiell made a note on the clipboard and headed across the street to the Sigma Kappa sorority.
“I love this,” said eight-year house director Vicki Dudley as the group hauled away four bags of one of the most prized items, women’s clothing. “We really needed this in the sorority because we would wind up with things that had to be thrown away.”
Next stop was the Delta Delta Delta house up Northwest 26th Street, where the entryway was the staging point for items for Dashiell’s crew as well as things its 43 members were planning to take home.
Helping bring order to the chaos was Sidney Holland, a sophomore education major from Seattle.
“I think it’s nice to donate stuff that we’re not using to those who need it more than we do,” Holland said.
“We love it. We can do it every term,” said Tri-Delta resident adviser Sheila Melonec. “Greeks like to be involved in outreach to the community and this is a good way to do that.”
Tri-Delta added women’s clothing and a box of laundry products and mugs to the Subaru.
Then it was on to the Alpha Gamma Delta sorority. And, yes, there is a pattern here — Dashiell received better response from the sororities than the fraternities.
“The sororities have been really on point,” Dashiell said.
Things were hectic at Alpha Gamma Delta, with the house set to shut down in an hour. The haul included more women’s clothing, toiletries and a wooden sign that said “Been There Rocked That.”
Chapter President Karli Gabica, a junior human development-family science major who was about to head out for her hometown of Eagle Point in Jackson County, explained how the house got involved.
“We got an email from Christine and we replied right away,” Gabica said. “We always have a lot of stuff to throw out.”
Dashiell said that her group starts its distribution effort by working with the web-based Corvallis Families Gift Economy and the Corvallis Family Clothing Swap, a quarterly event sponsored by the Corvallis Sustainability Coalition. After that the group works with other nonprofits.
When asked what items have the greatest value Dashiell replied immediately that it was women’s clothing.
But it took her a bit of time to come up with a hard-to-place item.
“Flip-flops,” she said. “I think there is just something about things that have touched people’s feet.”