Surplus Property saves items from landfill, generates revenue

Walker Discoe

Thrifting and buying used or surplus goods is a good way to find something unique while saving some money.

CSU surplus store view from the back wall facing computer repair center
The CSU surplus store offers end-of-life items from different departments at discount prices. Stocking everything from urine sample containers to refurbished laptops, the surplus store is a self-sustaining CSU entity dedicated to keeping waste in use and out of the landfill. (Walker Discoe | Collegian)

Students visit Goodwill or Arc Thrift Stores around Fort Collins to find furniture, shoes, clothes and even costumes, but many people don’t realize that an on-campus option is available. The Colorado State University Surplus Property has been re-purposing, repairing and saving items from the landfill for over 30 years, stocking surplus and end-of-life items from around the CSU campus.

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“Surplus goods is the end of life facility for everything belonging to the University,” said Holly Ritzmen, assistant manager of Surplus Property. “We take care of figuring out how to best disposition items ranging from office supplies and furniture to laboratory equipment and all the way up to vehicles and even the occasional horse. We determine the best options regarding sale, recycle or repurpose for all those different pieces, and one of our goals is as much landfill diversion as possible.”

Sourcing items from all around campus, the Surplus Property handles the items and equipment that departments are able to replace with money allocated in their budgets. But often, those items will be bought back by the same departments, or by students conducting independent research.

“All of the departments, by fiscal policy, do have to send their stuff to us,” Ritzmen said. “On an annual basis, we see a lot of items coming in from departments that are really tech heavy, that are doing upgrades to laboratory or computer equipment.”

Surplus property, being a department of CSU, allocates a percentage of its generated revenue to go back to the departments it receives items from.

“We are a self-funded department,” said Jake Drenth, manager of Surplus Property. “Everything we do here is funded by the sale, or the recycling of the items that we have, and then a portion of every sale that we make does go back to the original owning department, after we keep a fee for processing it.”

Surplus Property is located on the southeast side of campus, just west of the Health Center.

Surplus Property also offers comprehensive recycling services for hard to classify items like batteries and electronics that aren’t able to just be tossed in the bin.

“One thing that I don’t think most people know that we offer is electronics recycling,” said Drenth. “And that’s a service that’s available to students, faculty and staff. There is a fee that’s associated with that because we get charged by our downstream recycler. Laptops, batteries, computers, printers, cellphones, anything like that, we can take and properly dispose of.”

Open Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Surplus Property offers the opportunty for students and staff to buy a wide variety of end-of-life items.

“We see so many things, and it’s a really, really wide variety,” Ritzmen said. “If you’ve never shopped surplus, you should always stop by because you’re going to find something you’re not going to expect. And stop by frequently, because our inventory is always changing.”

Walker Discoe can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com or on Twitter @wdiscoe.

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