CORONAVIRUS

Iowa City's Rummage in the Ramp canceled due to COVID-19

Volunteers move a couch for display after it was dropped off during the 2019 Rummage in the Ramp. (Ben Roberts/Freelance
Volunteers move a couch for display after it was dropped off during the 2019 Rummage in the Ramp. (Ben Roberts/Freelance)

The 2020 Rummage in the Ramp has been canceled this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the city of Iowa City said Tuesday.

The Rummage in the Ramp committee instead will offer resources virtually for waste management.

Rummage in the Ramp began in 2007 in an effort to keep reusable items out of landfill as Iowa City’s University of Iowa-heavy tenants’ leases begin to expire beginning at the end of July.

Held annually in the Chauncey Swan parking garage, the work aims to dramatically reduces the amount of goods that go to the landfill, a sustainability goal of the city’s Climate Action and Adaption Plan.

Information should be available on its website, at https://bit.ly/30qhjBh, by the end of this month.

Jane Wilch, Iowa City recycling coordinator, said the planning committee for the event had been in discussions for a few months while monitoring the pandemic. The committee had been looking at guidelines for similar events as well, she added.

Wilch said the committee worked closely with Rummage Rampage, a similar event in Ames, to determine whether it would hold their events, despite CDC guidelines of social distancing. But that event announced its cancellation a few weeks ago.

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Both events will be offering resources on their websites for responsible material management, waste reduction, reuse and repair. At this time, Wilch said, there are no plans to create a new event to help remove the items that will be disposed of in July.

“We thought it was the most responsible to cancel the in-person event,” Wilch said. “The concept of Rummage is overall a very high-contact event.”

The annual Rummage Redux Challenge, an event set out to repair and repurpose furniture and other artistic creations, also will go virtual this year, with plans still in the works for how individuals can participate.

In 2019, Rummage in the Ramp for Iowa City raised $21,000 and diverted more than 32 tons of used furniture and other items from the landfill, with most items ranging from $1 to $20.

Emily Manders, co-president of the UI Environmental Coalition, an organization at the University of Iowa that volunteers for Rummage in the Ramp, said that while she was saddened by the cancellation, she understands there is a need to keep everyone safe during this time.

“The event keeps a lot of items out of the landfill and provides really cheap furniture for students or anyone within the community,” Manders said. “I hope that people still utilize Goodwill and places like that will take used furniture instead of putting it in the landfill.”

Comments: (319) 398-8372; alexandra.skores@thegazette.com

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