Dorm Paper Towel Removal
Several Eco Facilitators piloted a removal of paper towels from one dorm; all student residences will be paper towel free in Fall 2015.
When fully implemented, this will reduce waste, custodial labor, and reduce our carbon footprint (though it won't be recorded, since current paper towel purchases don't count toward our official footprint)
It's been a project in discussion for several years, but when the Eco Facilitators (EFs) program began, it was a perfect opportunity to try it out. Because of the success of the pilot, Physical Plant, Res Life, and Health Services joined together in support of this initiative.
MISTAKES & LESSONS LEARNED
The EFs learned that to try out reusable towels instead of disposable ones, it's necessary to be clear that this project is not advocating for communal towels (many people were turned off by this misconception). The idea is that hooks will be available and people can choose to leave a towel in the bathroom or take one each time they go in. You need to get the support of Res Life and your health center for this to happen, and we got support by agreeing to put in hand sanitizer in addition to soap in each bathroom. We are leaving paper towels in one "guest" bathroom per building and in kitchens so visitors and people with spills will still have a way to clean up. Lastly, it's important to communicate this change to students, and ideally remove towels only after a long break so that people have the time to adjust and get a hand towel.
We hope the all-campus this fall will go well!