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New app launching on Earth Day will help the Sac State community share, not discard, used items

The old chair that no longer matches your home décor might look great to a student trying to furnish an empty apartment. Same for some of the books piled in your garage, or pots and pans you replaced with shiny new ones.

A new Sac State app, set to launch on Friday in celebration of Earth Day, will allow students, faculty, and staff to easily exchange free items as an alternative to throwing them away. The introduction of the Hornet Reuse app highlights a week of campus activities focused on protecting our planet.

Every April 22, millions of people around the world celebrate Earth Day, the anniversary of the start of the modern environmental movement. The first Earth Day was in 1970.

This week’s events at Sac State are open to all members of the campus community. Tuesday was Ride Your Bike to Campus Day. On Wednesday, students, faculty, and staff members planted succulents in the Library Quad. On Thursday, the Sac State Planetarium will host shows focused on climate change. The week will close out on Friday and Saturday with work to clear trash from areas around campus.

“We’d like to reframe what we think of as waste or garbage. These items can be resources for people who need them." -- Josh Maddox, University Energy and Sustainability coordinator.

Organizers point to the launch of the Hornet Reuse app as perhaps the most significant part of the week. Sustainability experts hope it will help Sac State achieve its goals for reducing waste while offering a service to the campus community.

“If you have something you need, or something you want to give away, the app will allow you to connect with someone else on campus and both parties are happy,” said Ryan Todd, Sac State’s director of Energy and Sustainability. “You’ll get the warm fuzzies, and you’re helping to solve a problem at the same time” by reducing the amount of trash sent to landfills and helping curb packaging waste from new items.

The effort supports Sac State’s ultimate goal of becoming a “zero waste” campus by 2030, he said.

The Hornet Reuse app is designed by Good Use, a San Diego-based company that “facilitates the re-homing of everyday goods,” promotional material states. Sac State is among the first colleges to use the company’s branded private app, for exclusive use by the University community.

It is available on Apple or Android devices by searching Hornet Reuse in the App Store or Google Play store, or on the Sac State-branded website.

Only people with a Sac State email address can access the app. Once downloaded, users can list items they seek or want to give away. Buying or selling is not allowed. Users are encouraged to exchange items at a “safe zone” near the Sac State Police Department.

Two women, indoors in a classroom, holding smartphones, exchanging a book
Professor Christine Flowers (right) gives a book to Anita Kirk during a demonstration the Hornet Reuse app. (Sacramento State/Jessica Vernone)

Photos, titles, and descriptions of items exchanged will help the app calculate the weight and types of waste diverted from landfills, as well as the reduction of greenhouse gases.

“We’d like to reframe what we think of as waste or garbage,” said Josh Maddox, the University’s Energy and Sustainability coordinator. “These items can be resources for people who need them.”

Maddox said he hopes the app also will “create a sense of community” among people who use it.

Christine Flowers, an Environmental Studies lecturer at Sac State, believes the Hornet Reuse app will be popular with students, faculty, and staff.

“The idea of repurposing things is really important,” Flowers said. “I think the app is a valuable tool.”

Flowers recently told her students that, on average, “we only use 10 percent of the things that we have,” and many serviceable items are discarded.

“Why not give those things to someone who needs them?” she asked.

For more information about Earth Week events, contact

Sacramento State video by Jessica Vernone.

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About Cynthia Hubert

Cynthia Hubert came to Sacramento State in November 2018 after an award-winning career writing for the Sacramento Bee. Cynthia believes everyone has a good story. She lives in East Sacramento with her two cats, who enjoy bird-watching from their perch next to the living-room window.

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