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"Salvage" Film Screening to Celebrate SSRC Anniversary

"Salvage" Film Screening to Celebrate SSRC Anniversary

Posted by Katie Deska on Aug 12th 2019

In celebration of the 10th anniversary of Michigan State University’s Surplus Store & Recycling Center (SSRC), we invite the public to a special screening of the documentary film, Salvage, followed by a live discussion with filmmaker Amy C. Elliott and others, on Thursday, September 5th at 3 p.m.

The screening takes place in the Material Recovery Facility adjacent to the Surplus Store. All recyclable materials collected from campus and the public Drop-Off Center get sorted, baled and shipped for processing into post-consumer recycled material, and this will serve as a perfect backdrop for watching Salvage.

“We are excited to celebrate our anniversary with this film screening because it explores the big issues that drive what we do with our Surplus Store and recycling operations,” said Kris Jolley, SSRC manager. “The recycling program has been around for 30 years, ever since students, faculty, and staff petitioned the Board of Trustees for a permanent program in 1988. Then, 10 years ago, another group of students went to the Board requesting the expansion and improvement of the recycling program. That’s how the Surplus Store & Recycling Center, as we know it today, got started.”

The film follows a group of thrifty locals in Yellowknife, British Columbia, as they band together trying to save the town dump’s open salvage area from city bureaucrats determined to close it down.

“Their thrift offers an enticing alternative to the emptiness and disconnectedness of limitless consumerism. In a culture choked with stuff, obsessed with it, the idea of thrift as a necessary societal virtue may yet make a comeback,” said Elliott. “Those who salvage there do so for many different reasons—some make a living from it, some out of a sense of morality or concern for the environment, some just find it fun. But all believe it is important, even meaningful, to rescue items that others have discarded.” We believe many of our avid recyclers and "Surplustomers" share the sentiment as the Yellowknifers.

Before the screening, attendees will get a behind-the-scenes look at SSRC’s operations and have the opportunity to talk with student and full-time staff members. At the close of the hour-long film, which premiered this spring at the SXSW festival, SSRC will host a live discussion with the New York-based director, a local upcycling artist, and SSRC's manager. They will talk about the philosophy of thrift and the merit of reuse.

Tickets are free; however, space is limited so we suggest that you save your seat! See our Facebook event page for more info.

Part of MSU’s Infrastructure Planning and Facilities department, SSRC’s mission is to manage University waste as a resource through an integrated system of reuse, recycling, collaboration, and education. SSRC defines waste as any material that campus discards, and urges individuals and departments to rethink the perception of waste, to see it as the resource it is. In our history, SSRC has diverted 120 million pounds of items away from the landfill. That's the equivalent of 80,000 Sparty statues!

Contact our Education Coordinator with any questions about the event at

Photo courtesy filmmaker.