Written by Ngoc Nguyen, ESLLC 2017-2018
Sustainable solutions to reduce water and paper consumption in daily activities
Nowadays, the green movement is becoming more and more popular all over the world. As higher education is one of the best environments to educate people and spread the environmental messages, many green movements are created in order to save the energy and resources on university’s campuses. As resource conservation is among the most critical environmental issues, many solutions to conserve natural resources such as water and paper are currently applied or proposed in American higher education.
At Oberlin College, a competition to see who can save the most water and energy has been created in campus dorms (Sara Rimer, Green movement spreading on U.S. campuses, 2008). This competition helps improve people’s awareness of saving the energy, and making the work of protecting the environment be more fun and interesting. The shower timer and recording board are being used to track the time people taking shower. The image of a typical kind of shower timer is shown below:
Fig 1. A picture of a plastic hourglass timer, which is sold for around $2
Now saving water is not only the job of the sustainability office, but it is the job of each student and is strongly immersed in people’s daily lives.
Another example of solutions to save resources on school campuses is the use of a cloth towel dispenser rather than a paper dispenser. In some high schools over the U.S, cloth towel dispensers have replaced the normal paper rolls. As the paper manufacturing industry has cut down a lot of trees and taken a lot of energy to recycle the products, cloth is now a solution to save the paper used to dry hands. A cloth towel dispenser contains a roll of cloth, and can easily be washed and reused.
Fig 2. A picture of a cloth towel dispenser, which is sold around $160
Some information has been revealed from an interview with a custodian working at the University of Denver. Every day, each bathroom in the Johnson-McFarlane Halls consumes one roll of hand drying paper towel, which is 304 meters long, and five rolls of toilet papers. If the cloth hand drying towel dispenser can be used instead, it could save to 10,000 meters hand drying paper per month only in one bathroom.
Some of the problems that the green movement is now dealing with include resource conservation, a critical issue that has attracted much concern from individuals, companies, and large institutions such as universities and colleges.
Both the shower timer and cloth dispenser are interesting solutions to save resources on university campuses. However, in order to bring a meaningful change, each person needs to do their part to bring real impact.