Monday, October 14, 2013

What can you do to to reduce waste at UCSC?

La versión en español acompañará la publicación de este mensaje.

It has been years since I broke the habit of drinking bottled water. I rarely print documents anymore--and when I do, I print on both sides of the paper. Today, my travel mug is so well-used that the UCSC emblem is almost completely worn away.

These are three things I do to reduce my environmental footprint. What can you do? 

It's an important question, because UCSC has committed to becoming a zero-waste campus by 2020. Today, the campus diverts about two-thirds of its trash from the landfill. Getting a handle on that last third is going to require a commitment from each of us. 

That's why I'm launching the Chancellor's Sustainability Challenge this year with a focus on waste reduction. Did you know paper towels make up one-third of the campus's waste stream by volume? Last year's pilot program to reduce paper towel use at Stevenson College was so successful that we're expanding it this year to all residence halls. We need everyone to chip in on this, though. Think about bringing a personal hand towel to work, or clipping one to your backpack. It may seem odd today, but I suspect personal hand towels will soon be as commonplace on campus as reusable water bottles. 

There's more each of us can do, from composting food waste in the dining halls to participating in our Green Office andGreen Labs certification programs. Visit the Chancellor's Sustainability Challenge website for ideas and information.

I also want to congratulate the UCSC Office of Sustainability on the just-released Campus Sustainability Plan 2013-16, a comprehensive document that is guiding our path forward. Many people across campus contributed research and hard work to produce this plan, just as many students, staff, and faculty contribute day in and day out to the good work that is making UCSC a greener campus. I am grateful.

I leave you with one final thought: A recent analysis revealed that UCSC uses 1 billion sheets of office paper annually. Remember that the next time you go to hit "print"!

-Chancellor's Office

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