As spring inches closer, UCSB is looking greener and greener with environmentally friendly policies across campus.
In an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and leave as small of an ecological footprint as possible, Ellison Hall has adopted a new recycling program. Meanwhile, Associated Students has agreed to adhere to more environmentally sustainable practices in its daily operations and special events, and the UCSB Bookstore has begun using environmentally sensitive plastic bags.
“We are doing everything we can to reduce the environmental footprint… even if we have growth on the campus,” said Perrin Pellegrin, on-campus sustainability manager.
Last Friday, Ellison Hall announced its new recycling plan, which includes vermicomposting – a process using worms to break down organic waste into soil and fertilizer. The project is part of a wider effort to become Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certified, which can be done only after a building employs practices that impact the environment as little as possible.
Workers at Ellison Hall are following in the footsteps of Bren and Girvetz Halls, which are already LEED certified. Pellegrin said the campus hopes to have 25 existing buildings undergo this process in the next five years.
“By LEED certifying the buildings on campus, it takes a huge impact off the environment. The campus as a whole puts a lot less impact on the pristine environment,” Jessica Hitt, the external affairs advisor of the Environmental Affairs Board said. “Everything helps, one building at a time.”
Along with compost sites, Eli Krispi, the Ellison Hall sustainability intern, said more recycling bins have been distributed throughout the building. Krispi said the more clearly labeled bins will increase recycling.
“The waste could have gone to the landfill … It’s one of the many steps of a long process towards [LEED certification],” Krispi said.
The Environmental Affairs Board, which supported Ellison’s installation of a recycling program, is looking to employ eco-friendly practices at all Associated Students-funded events.
“For Earth Day, we got approval to plant trees to take up carbon that our event produces,” said Hitt, a fourth-year environmental studies major.
Like recycling and reducing waste at Ellison Hall, A.S. is doing other small things, such as using biodegradable and reusable dishes in order to bring the A.S. offices one step closer to LEED certification. Hitt said LEED considers all aspects of buildings’ practices, such as making water use as efficient as possible and using less energy by putting computer monitors in power save mode when not in use.
Meanwhile, the UCEN Bookstore has begun purchasing its plastic bags from Roplast Industries, a company that claims to adhere to strict environmental standards. UCSB is the first campus in California to use the bags.
“Buying [the environmentally friendly] plastic bags is an excellent way to address the sustainability of plastic at the source during the pre-manufacturing and manufacturing stage,” said Dave McBride, of LTS Sales, a representative for the firm that brokered the deal between UCSB and Roplast Industries.