Buyers repurpose 58 tons of furniture, housewares at ramp sale

The fourth annual Rummage RAMPage, a community sale designed to keep reusable items out of the waste stream, set records for landfill diversion and proceeds. The city of Ames and ISU's office of sustainability, with assistance from the Volunteer Center of Story County, held the sale July 26-Aug. 3 at the Ames Intermodal Facility.

2019 Rummage RAMPage, by the numbers:

  • Nine days spanning two weekends for donations and sales
  • 116,424 pounds of furniture and housewares kept out of the landfill, an increase of 14,000 pounds from 2018. One hundred-forty sofas, 138 upholstered chairs, 65 tables and 33,000 pounds of housewares found a new home.
  • 22 local nonprofit groups sent volunteers (400 shifts and more than 1,200 volunteer hours)
  • $33,194 (an increase of nearly $15,000 from 2018) shared by the nonprofit agencies based on donated hours

"This year's event was truly exceptional in all aspects -- donations, sales and volunteers," said Merry Rankin, who coordinates sustainability programs for both the university and city. "The success or failure of Rummage RAMPage rests in the hands of the community, and once again, the response was overwhelming."

Most leases in Ames expire at the end of July and some relocating tenants discard items that still may be useable. Rummage RAMPage is a collaborative effort to pair unwanted items with buyers seeking low-cost options for furnishing a home.

Most sale items were priced $1 to $50. Not all donated items could be sold. Linens, bedding, clothing, books, unused food and school supplies were distributed to local agencies such as the Ames Animal Shelter, Goodwill and the Ames Public Library. For the second year, Story County Conservation, Iowa Wildlife Center and Ames Animal Shelter partnered to find homes for pets that might otherwise be abandoned. Two turtles were rehomed during the event.

"The end result was that we landfilled less than 2 percent of the total weight of donated items. This helps our recycling and processing of materials at the resource recovery facility," said Bill Schmitt, superintendent of the city's Resource Recovery Plant.