‘Thriftsburgh’ run by Pitt students aims to repurpose used goods

PITTSBURGH — The O’Hara Student Center is tucked into Pitt’s campus. Inside that building is the product of innovative students.

“It’s really made me aware of how much unnecessary stuff we buy that we think we need and it ends up being something we donate or throw away,” said Nicole Marchese, who’s a Pitt junior.

Marchese works at Thriftsburgh. It’s a store run by students and the products come straight out of the dorms.

“Plastic storage containers and shelves, mirrors fans, non-perishable food, and lots and lots of clothes,” said Nick Goodfellow, who’s Pitt’s sustainability coordinator.

One may call it unwanted junk, but this group is finding a way to repurpose, reuse and recycle all of it. Just this year, Pitt students left behind 21,000 pounds of items when they moved out.

“This was all getting thrown out so students started Thriftsburgh to capture the material, the really valuable material to have an outlet to resell it on campus. This is the stuff students want,” Goodfellow said.

While the store focuses on smaller items, the big appliances are sold at a big sale at the end of summer.

“The affordability part of the program is a major source of motivation for all of us because we know you go to a big box store you are going to pay 150 for a microwave but you can get one here for 20 dollars,” Goodfellow said.

What can’t be sold is donated or recycled to help the environment and keep this trash out of the landfills.

“We are saving a lot of resources from being discarded. Like everything that went into building a mini fridge that is saved from being thrown out but we are also saving a new mini fridge from being purchased so we are going upstream and preventing waste,” Goodfellow said.

As for the profits, it all goes back into the store.