Campus Environmental Center

Photo Credit: Crystal Marie Garcia | Daily Texan Staff

Slide the City, a Utah-based water slide company, wants to transform the streets of Austin into a 1,000-foot vinyl slip and slide.

The company tours the country, making stops in more than 20 cities each year. Austin is on this year’s list of locations, but the company has not set a date, partly because of the water conservation concerns the City of Austin posed.

The summer tour is coming amid a stage-two drought, which is defined as when water in lakes Travis and Buchanan fall below a minimum supply level, according to Austin Water Utility. 

“Our reservoirs are a little over half full, and this is only exacerbated by the growing population,” said Lauren Hodges, geography sophomore and Green Events student leader for the Campus Environmental Center. “It’s a pretty contentious issue.”

According to Slide the City’s website, the slide is designed to have minimal environmental impact, and it treats and recycles the water efficiently. The slide circulates approximately 12,000–20,000 gallons of water per day.

Austin Water Utility has advised that this type of water use is currently prohibited because of the drought, and Slide the City will have to find alternative methods.

“Our city manager has enacted Drought Response Stage 2, which prohibits operation of fountains with an aerial emission of water or aerial fall of water greater than four inches,” Austin Water Utility spokesman Jason Hill said. “This is the case whether or not the intent is to recapture the water.”

Slide the City states on its website that it donates the water back to the community centers, parks, golf courses and other places when city officials allow. These techniques are not enough for efficient water conservation, said Jaclyn Kachelmeyer, international relations and global studies senior and director of the Campus Environmental Center.

“We will waste a lot of energy to pump the water and then clean and recycle it,” Kachelmeyer said. “It’s also impossible not to lose a lot of water from evaporation and it sticking to people, etc.”

Last fall, Austin declared a two-year moratorium on non-traditional events, such as Slide the City, in the downtown and South Austin area, specifically bordered by Oltorf Street and Barton Skyway, according to the Austin American-Statesman. The moratorium would disallow new events to shut down streets in those areas, 

Kachelmeyer said she thinks the slide would be an unnecessary waste of water.

“We don’t need to pump water and set up slides to have fun in Austin,” Kachelmeyer said. “We can take advantage of Austin’s wonderful local elements, like Lady Bird Lake, without being wasteful.”

Radio-television-film sophomore Katherine Brookshire said she thinks the water slide would be fun to see.

“I would want to go see it just to say I was there,” Brookshire said. “I don’t think I’d actually want to go do it. … It sounds kind of dangerous.”

Civil engineer freshman Rachel Piner (right) shop for clothes with her friends communication junior Millie Negron (middle) and corporate communication freshman Alexandra Gonzalez (left) at the Campus Environmental Center’s Trash to Treasure sale. Students could buy items ranging from clothes to kitchenware at a dollar an item or five dollars to fill a bag up.  

Photo Credit: Pu Ying Huang | Daily Texan Staff

Nestled in a corner on the ground floor of the SSB is the home of the Campus Environmental Center, UT’s first major environmentally-focused student organization. What started in 2002 as a grassroots, student-run effort to supply recycling in departments, offices and classrooms has expanded into a sponsored student organization, unique in its opportunities for individual students to gain work experience while improving sustainability efforts at UT. The mission of the Campus Environmental Center is to empower The University of Texas at Austin community to reduce its negative environmental impacts and to foster a genuine culture of sustainability on campus through collaborative and constructive means. In working towards this mission, CEC not only serves as a voice for students on environmental issues — on and off campus — but also has the ear of supportive UT staff and administration through its situation under Facilities Services, as well as the resources to act.

At the Campus Environmental Center, we run projects that make a difference, embracing that think global, act local mindset. Currently, almost 20 students are employed by CEC to manage its various programs. From a garage-sale event called Trash to Treasure that diverts waste from the landfill to the Microfarm and Concho Community Garden that grow organic, local food for students and the community, from the 350,000 loblolly pines growing at the UT Tree Nursery to reforest Bastrop to the Green Events consulting program that helps organizations reduce their environmental impacts at events, CEC members spend the semester highlighting an issue whose importance and implications are often woefully overlooked on this campus and in our country.

It should be no secret by now that Central Texas (and really much of the western United States) is in a water crisis, resulting in severe droughts and massive aquifer depletion without adequate recharge rates. This is not just an environmental issue, but a social and economic one as well. The environment impacts everything. Our concerns as students and as citizens directly link back to the health of our surroundings, and what we do as a campus now will directly affect what we hope to do later. Thankfully, UT boasts an impressive irrigation system that has saved millions of gallons of water since its installation in 2011, the year of the Bastrop fire and one of the worst periods of drought — a drought not yet over — in Texas’ history. Such efforts by students and the University to reduce our environmental impacts are laudable and should be a source of Longhorn pride, and yet they receive very little attention and publicity.  

The student body and the University both need to continue collaborating to promote environmentally-friendly practices. We need to improve infrastructure and safety for biking and other alternative transportation options, to expand composting, electronics recycling and other waste-reduction facilities, and to support programs that successfully engage students in these efforts, such as the Green Fee. Next time you walk across campus, take note of the composting bins in the Union, the xeriscaping outside the Harry Ransom Center, the Orange Bike Project bike rentals. The direct result of a mere $5 fee taken out of each student’s semester tuition, these projects are proposed, funded and implemented by students for the betterment of the University. These projects have proven their benefits time and again, and CEC or other UT departments have adopted many of them to ensure their continued execution and success over the years. The Green Fee will be up for renewal during student body elections in the spring, and it is critical to improving sustainability at UT that students approve the fee once again.

The problem is that most students do not know about the Green Fee, the irrigation system, the waste-reduction efforts in the stadium, the great strides DHFS has taken in sustainability; nor do they know about the work still yet to be done, their rights to a healthier environment or programs and ordinances within the city of Austin. The Universal Recycling Ordinance, in effect since 2012, is a prime example of this. The ordinance mandates that apartment complexes and office building provide easy access to recycling facilities, yet many students, especially in West Campus, do not have any way to recycle in their apartments, a direct violation of the URO. With most of these violations going unreported due to a lack of awareness among the student body, the massive environmental footprint of West Campus will continue to cast shadows on progress made by the city and by UT so far. (Students can call 3-1-1 to report URO non-compliance issues.)

If there is one thing that CEC has demonstrated, it’s that when students care about their environment and are supported with the tools to put thoughts into action, tangible change occurs. CEC programs, Green Fee projects and research initiatives are daily proof. The power of students to be environmental stewards has yet to be fully harnessed, and we as a student body and a university must do more to increase environmental efficiency and education on and off campus, to encourage student engagement and to take pride in our accomplishments thus far.

Kachelmeyer is a Plan II, geography and international relations senior from Sugar Land. She is the director of the CEC. She served last year as the editor of the Cactus yearbook, which, like the Texan, is a property of Texas Student Media.

Fourteen new fruit trees were recently added to the UT orchard located at the intersection of San Jacinto and East 24th street. The orchard was founded in the spring of 2010 in order to raise environmental awareness.


Jenna VonHofe | Daily Texan Staff

Photo Credit: Jenna VonHofe | Daily Texan Staff

Students broke new ground in environmental awareness, as 14 new fruit trees were recently added to the UT Orchard.

The Orchard, located at the intersection of San Jacinto and East 24th streets, was founded in spring 2010 as part of an initiative to generate environmental awareness and encourage student involvement. 

Students from several environmental organizations around campus, including the Campus Environmental Center and the Division of Housing and Food Service’s Green Corps, helped plant and mulch the new trees. Fig, persimmon, lemon, kumquat and chokecherry trees were among the new varieties added to the Orchard. 

According to Jennifer Hrobar, supervisor of urban forestry for the University, the new trees were chosen because of their relatively low need for maintenance and ability to grow well in the Central Texas climate.

Hrobar said planting the new trees was part of an effort for the University to maintain its status as a Tree Campus USA member — a designation awarded by the Arbor Day Foundation to schools that follow certain guidelines in managing trees on campus — requiring the University to host a service-learning project for students.

Emily Mixon, Plan II senior and director of the Campus Environmental Center, said she thinks UT’s continued involvement with Tree Campus USA is important because it raises awareness about environmental issues on campus.

“I wish more people realized the guidelines that go into planting trees on campus,” Mixon said. “I think it’s a great way to get students plugged into noticing nature in our everyday lives and being conscientious about how they use campus as a whole.” 

According to Hrobar, the Orchard supervisors will grow the trees using a minimal amount of pesticides in an attempt to promote environmental sustainability.

“We don’t use many pesticides on the trees, and we use organic fertilizer,” Hrobar said. “We want anyone to be able to go out there, pick fruit and eat it, without worrying about ingesting any chemicals.”

Hunter Mangrum, environmental specialist at Division of Housing and Food Service, said he thinks allowing students to plant the trees encourages them to learn about sustainability on campus.  

“I think it’s a really cool way to reach students,” Mangrum said. “It’s a very hands-on type of approach to get students involved with planting and landscaping to promote sustainability.” 

Will Wynn, former mayor of Austin, moderates a panel presented by the Campus Environmental Center to discuss issues of sustainability and environmental policy at the Texas Union Theatre on Wednesday evening.

Photo Credit: Debby Garcia | Daily Texan Staff

Hoping to advance environmental policy and sustainability awareness, experts discussed the relationship between climate change and economics at a panel Wednesday evening.

The Campus Environmental Center, the only UT-sponsored environmental student-run organization, hosted “Climate Change in Texas: Risks and Opportunities,” featuring former Austin Mayor Will Wynn.

As chairman on the Board of Directors of Austin Energy for nine years, Wynn said he has seen the momentum of climate change and global warming fluctuate. Wynn also highlighted the dichotomy between Texas as the worst carbon-emitting state and yet the state that offers the most renewable energy, attributable to wind power.

“There’s a revenue source for some land out in West Texas that wasn’t particularly profitable otherwise,” Wynn said. “That’s a good example, though. You can make an economic argument, set aside the environmental debate and show somebody how it’s beneficial economically. That’s really [what] the big opportunity and challenge is for in Texas — to figure out and sell the economic benefits of environmental protection and just know it in our heart that we're also helping the environment.”

Others on the panel included Ramon Alvarez, senior scientist at the Texas office of Environmental Defense Fund; Zach Baumer, climate program manager for the city of Austin; and Kerry Cook, professor at the department of geological sciences.

Cook said by 2050, Austin’s climate will increase by three degrees Fahrenheit and precipitation will decrease by 10 percent in the winter and 15 percent in the summer.

“We have a huge challenge in front of us to perform interdisciplinary research when we have different jargon, different ways of approaching and different ways of thinking about this,” Cook said. “We are trying to educate the next generation of scientists more broadly so they can all communicate effectively.”

Collin Poirot, political communication, Plan II honors and history senior and assistant director of the Campus Environmental Center, said the importance of this discussion is highlighted by the fact that people don’t know what to believe.

“Adapting to climate change means that you have to make some changes, it doesn’t mean you have to lose money or shut down your business,” Poirot said. “It just means you have to change the way you go about your business, and people don’t want to have to do that.”

Printed on Thursday, April 25, 2013 as Panel hopes to raise citizen involvement 

Director of the Campus Environmental Center Faith Shin has been promoting an upcoming Earth Day carnival that will showcase what different organizations are doing to increase campus sustainability on April 22. 

Photo Credit: Pearce Murphy | Daily Texan Staff

There are two types of people on college campuses. The first frantically runs around campus picking up trash and ranting about the upcoming environmental apocalypse, clad in pants made out of recycled grocery bags. The second drags themselves out of bed at 12:30 p.m. and skips the confusing recycling bins for the ease of a trash can whose contents are destined for a landfill. 

“College students are lazy, it’s as simple as that,” Katherine Crawford, a dance freshman and Campus Environmental Center member, said, “If they have a soda can to throw away but the recycling bin is a few steps farther than a normal trash can, they’ll take the easy way out.”

Crawford believes the polar opposite priorities of college students in regards to sustainability prevent progress. She thinks the only time work gets done is when it is forced on students.

Faith Shin, director of the Campus Environmental Center, said sustainable living on campus is absolutely feasible. She said that over the years UT has made environmental progress readily available, especially in dining halls and waste management. More than anything, she believes celebrating Earth Day is the best way to promote environmental awareness.

The University of Texas will have many events to participate in for those students who are interested in environmental progress. Shin and the Campus Environmental Center have been promoting Earth Day all April by kick starting an “Earth Month” campaign.

Shin’s efforts are most focused on an Earth Day Carnival on April 22 which will span the length of Speedway.

“We hope to showcase what different departments and organizations are doing to increase campus sustainability,” Shin said.

To do this, Shin has collaborated with more than 20 campus organizations. She hopes to show that a large portion of the student population is unified in its efforts to save the environment. Each student group involved has prepared various activities to educate students on how to reduce their carbon footprint and increase their sustainability.

Shin and the Campus Environmental Center are currently building a bicycle-powered blender. They will have carnival visitors ride the bicycle and power the machine in order to receive the smoothie they want.

“Maybe by putting them through this manual labor of sorts, they will understand how much energy it takes to fuel even small household appliances, like a blender,” Shin said.

Earth Day was created in 1970 by Gaylord Nelson, a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin. At the time, growing clouds of smog were not seen as an issue — it was a symbol of America’s growing prosperity. Senator Nelson decided that change was needed in our perception of environmental issues and used Earth Day to spur young people to make a new movement to save the planet.

Forty-three years later, Earth Day is celebrated in 192 countries and brings together the environmentally conscious in one day of festivities.

“Today we are constantly bombarded with the decline of our environment,” Reed Sternberg, Austin Earth Day festival director, said. “Austin Earth Day is an opportunity to stop and celebrate the good stuff about the Earth.”

Shin believes the various events in Austin for Earth Day have the ability to unite the community and push them toward environmental progress.

“Students aren’t apathetic to sustainability, and I doubt that any one wants to harm the planet,” Shin said, “They just have to make the conscious effort to live ‘green.’”

College students’ active resolve is perhaps in question, but Shin believes UT will take the opportunity to do its part this Earth Day. Perhaps Monday’s festivities will convince lazy college students to take the extra step toward the recycling bin.

John Thompson, an organic chemistry graduate student, chooses items to buy from the office supply sale in the Anna Hiss Gym.  The office supply swap is selling used products to students for discounted prices.

Photo Credit: Gabriella Belzer | Daily Texan Staff

Notebooks, printer cartridges and other office supplies were organized onto tables in the Anna Hiss Gymnasium on Tuesday for UT’s first Trash to Treasure Office Supply Swap.

The Campus Environmental Center, Office of Sustainability and Division of Housing and Food Service partnered together to host the supply swap for UT staff to bring in unwanted office supplies and trade them in for supplies they might need.

“I wanted to do something that I knew staff would hear about and hopefully re-spark the interest in recycling,” said Karen Blaney, sustainability operations assistant manager. 

The two-day event was held Monday and Tuesday when faculty stopped by to pick up whatever supplies they needed. 

“I’m just hoping this diverts a couple thousand pounds from the landfill and hopefully gets it to people who want it instead of people who are resentful of it sitting in the closet,” Blaney said.

Blaney said the UT Elementary School and an office supply reuse store were also invited to select whatever they wanted and the leftover supplies would be auctioned off to the general public.

Environmental science freshman Toni Red volunteered at the event with the Campus Environmental Center and she said she was glad to see people bringing in items to donate and recycle. 

“There [are] so many things that we don’t really use so it’s good to reuse them,” Red said. “If not, they would probably end up in landfills or stuck in a drawer.” 

Jennifer Hobson, sustainability program coordinator, said the supply swap was also economically beneficial to participants. 

“A lot of office supplies are very expensive and this way people can come get office supplies without spending the money, so I think that’s one of the benefits,” Hobson said.

Hobson said the event was such a success, the event organizers are looking into inviting students to participate in the event next year and to hopefully raise awareness of recycling options. 

“I think there’s enough stuff that was left over that if we can make it available to students, it would be beneficial for everybody at UT,” Hobson said.

Published on February 20, 2013 as "Environmental Center recycle office supplies". 

Alejandro Paredes, a member of the Engineers for a Sustainable World, discusses recycling of old computer parts with UT students during America Recycles Day. America Recycles Day brought together students from the Student Engineering Council, Engineers for a Sustainable World and various other student groups to teach people about different ways to recycle.
Photo Credit: Ben Chesnut | Daily Texan Staff

Students said no to electronic waste Thursday by recycling outdated devices in observance of America Recycles Day.

The Campus Environmental Center recognized the national holiday by hosting a recycling drive to collect students’ recyclable waste, including plastic bags, glass and electronics. Engineers for a Sustainable World, Engineering Council Sustainable Committee, the Office of Sustainability and the Division of Housing and Food Service set up tables at the event to collect specific items and educate students on the benefits of recycling.

The Campus Environmental Center hosts a recycling drive in honor of the holiday every year and focuses on a particular item to recycle each drive.

Hunter Mangrum, spokesperson for the Division of Housing and Food Service, said the division is working to help students become familiar with recycling electronic waste. Electronic waste bins will be placed in residence halls before the end of November, Mangrum said. He said in addition to encouraging students to recycle electronic waste, the division has made all recycling bins into single-stream collections that collect plastic, aluminum and compost. 

“The ultimate goal as a University is to empower students to take on the motto to change the world,” Mangrum said. “We hope that this will become the norm and that students will spread their education and environmentally conscious methods elsewhere.”

Psychology senior Faith Shin, director of the Campus Environmental Center, said the few places where electronic waste on campus can be recycled are often inaccessible to students. Shin said many students throw out their electronics because of this, resulting in a lifetime in a landfill and the leaking of toxic chemicals into water sources.

“Students consistently have to change out their electronics,” Shin said. “They typically change their cell phones every two years and their computers every three years. With this growing number, e-waste is becoming more of a problem on campus.”

According to the United Nations Environmental Program, an estimated 20 to 50 million tons of electronic waste is disposed of globally each year. Less than 20 percent of electronic waste worldwide is recycled, and 80 percent of U.S. electronic waste is exported to Asia, according to Do Something, an organization for social change.

Geography junior Reanna Bain, assistant director of the Campus Environmental Center, said the harmful chemicals electronic waste contains, such as mercury and lead, are detrimental to the water supplies of countries that receive U.S. electronic waste.

“E-waste is making whole countries into landfills of electronics,” Bain said.

Printed on Friday, November 16, 2012 as: E-waste added to recycling list 

Students getting rid of used items can consider contributing to a campus-wide drive that is looking for donations ranging from pairs of gently worn shoes to notebooks and household goods.

The eighth annual Trash to Treasure Donation Drive will begin today and run through May 15 on campus. Organized by the Campus Environmental Center, the drive will collect used goods, from apparel to houseware, at donation locations across campus for the fall 2012 Trash to Treasure garage sale.

Geography sophomore Reanna Bain, the coordinator for Trash to Treasure, said the goal of the drive is to divert waste that occurs when students move out of residence halls.

“It will prevent usable items from going to a landfill,” Bain said. “The project strives to recycle what others may consider to be trash and resell items in a campus-wide garage sale at the beginning of the school year where many students can’t believe the amount of treasures they find.”

Bain said all students are consumers and should be aware of the environmental impact they have when they buy new things and throw away items that can still be used.

“Our planet can only hold so many items and so many people think of  ‘throwing something away’ in an ‘out of sight, out of mind’ perspective,” Bain said. “In actuality, everything that we make, especially if it’s not biodegradable, is still on Earth. Therefore, it is wasteful for humans as a whole to create such large amounts of waste and not expect to face the consequences later.”

Psychology senior Faith Shin, outreach coordinator for Campus Environmental Center, said the advantage of this drive is the abundant potential for students to enjoy the used materials donated.

“The rising love for vintage and used goods makes this donation all the more relevant,” Shin said. “Students who partake in this drive as volunteers can see that the donations benefit a lot of people.”

Desired donation items include gently used clothing, shoes, electronics, household items and school supplies, she said.

“Keep in mind that items not allowed include children’s clothing, clothes or shoes with stains or holes, undergarments, swimsuits, personal care products or outdated electronics that are old or broken,” Shin said. 

Marketing senior Brittney Walls, event coordinator for the University Co-op, said they held the Duds for Discounts drive at the Co-op branch stores in late April. The two Austin locations, which collected an estimated 300 donations, gave those items to the Trash to Treasure drive.

“We were looking for charities to partner with in each city and since we’re right across the street from campus, what better way to give back to UT than through this drive?” Walls said. “We received some really nice men’s and women’s clothing that students would benefit from especially at such a low cost.”

Drive donation areas will include Jester East, Jester West, San Jacinto, Duren, Kinsolving, Whitis Court, Littlefield and Carothers residence halls.

Andrew Townsend, assistant director for the Campus Environment Center, gives out information on the organization’s campaign to ban disposable plastic water bottles to senior advertising major Josh Berman. The group asked students on West Mall Tuesday to sign a petition to prohibit the bottles on campus.

Photo Credit: Mary Kang | Daily Texan Staff

With a trailer full of recyclables parked on the West Mall early Tuesday morning, a student group hoped to bring awareness to their campaign to ban disposable plastic water bottles on campus.

The student group, the Campus Environmental Center, used the event to celebrate the national America Recycles Day which took place Nov. 15 and to revamp its “Refill, Not Landfill” campaign against plastic bottles.

The CEC started the campaign in 2010 in an effort to reduce human impact on the environment, group director Michelle Camp said.

“We’re here to educate students about plastics, how they’re produced and what happens to them after they’re used,” Camp said. “We’re giving out reusable bottles and encouraging students to use them instead of disposable plastic bottles.”

A ban on the sale of water bottles on college campuses has already been implemented in other schools including Seattle University, Belmont University and the University of Portland, Camp said.

“The campaign has no definite end and will go on as long as there are people passionate about it,” Camp said. “Our end goal is for there to be no plastic bottles sold on campus at all.”

Because the campaign is in its early stages, Carson Chavana, CEC assistant director of recycling, said they have not yet felt opposition regarding the ban on plastic bottles.

“We aren’t ignorant to the idea that it might sound like kind of a big change to students at first, but I think that when we clearly present these other options and show students that it’s actually safer to drink out of reusable water bottles,” Chavana said.

She said municipal water supplies are more closely regulated than bottled water, and the plastic in water bottles can release toxins that endanger human health.

Plans to improve UT recycling efforts include implementing standardized indoor recycling bins that all look the same, said Karen Blaney, program coordinator in the Office of Campus Planning and Facilities Management.

Students need to keep pressure on the administration and facility services to stress the need for recycling and prove they can recycle correctly, Blaney said.

Printed on Wednesday, November 23, 2011 as: Center seeks to ban plastic water bottles

Theater and dance majors Lindsey Miller, left, and Cara Smith, right, peruse the tables covered in shoes, apparel, knickknacks and house ware in front of the Peter Flawn Academic Center during a university-wide garage sale Friday afternoon. All merchandise was priced at $1 and proceeds benefited the Campus Environmental Center.

Photo Credit: Danielle Villasana | Daily Texan Staff

Tables filled with clothing, shoes, accessories, school supplies, electronics and household items dominated the entrance plaza to the Flawn Academic Center as a student environmental group hosted its seventh annual “Trash to Treasure” garage sale.

The Campus Environmental Center raised $2,144 on Friday by selling items students in campus residence halls donated at the end of last semester. Most clothing items and pairs of shoes cost only $1. Of approximately 2,000 pounds of items for sale, the group sold 80 percent and donated the remainder to Austin State Hospital, a local mental health facility.

Campus Environmental Center adviser and sustainability operations assistant manager Karen Blaney said Austin State Hospital and the center have had a mutually beneficial relationship since 2008.

“They’re always in need of clothes for their residential patients,” Blaney said. “They’ve been able to come with a van and rolling bins and pick things up really efficiently, so we’ve always worked with them.”

Many universities collect items from student dormitories at the end of the year in charity drives, but UT is unique in reselling those items to students, Blaney said.

“It’s really easy to explain to the student population what we’re doing, and people really like the idea of thrift sales,” Blaney said. “We need a fundraiser that makes sense for what we do, for the Campus Environmental Center message.”

“Trash to Treasure” coordinator Reanna Bain said the organization usually holds the garage sale before the fall semester but changed the date this year to increase publicity opportunities.

Bain said she hopes the event will encourage students to think about how items they no longer want can be reused by others and help them develop recycling habits.

“For students, their lifestyle choices now reflect what they’re going to do in the future,” Bain said. “If they recycle now, they’re doing their part with their community, and that’s what they’re going to continue doing as adults when they’re out of school.”

Psychology senior Lisa Johnson said the sale was an opportunity to shop for necessary and fun items while sticking to a budget.

“I have a job where I have to look professional,” Johnson said. “Professional clothing is extremely expensive, and this is so much easier. This is so much better for me.”

Adesile Okeowo, a Middle Eastern studies teaching assistant, said he frequents garage sales because U.S. retail goods are far more expensive than those in his native Nigeria. He said throwing away the items would have been a wasted economic opportunity.

“It could have been thrown away, and it’s going to deny some people access to things,” Okeowo said. “After I got a few things from the H-E-B, Target, Wal-Mart, CVS, I stopped buying things from there. They are just too expensive for me.”