Dormitories across campus are a few shades greener these days, as campus officials continue to encourage policies that reduce, reuse and recycle.
UCSB’s Housing and Residential Services has recently adopted a series of programs to make its operations more environmentally friendly, including switching to non-toxic, eco-conscious cleaning products and recycling old furniture.
Dan Heedy, director of residential operations, said HRS is committed to “green clean” as much as possible, purchasing products under a Green Seal or Environmental Choice Program Standards.
“At first, green cleaning was a tough sell to custodians, because everyone gets set in their ways. Now they embrace it. Noxious chemicals are harmful to custodians since they’re around chemicals all the time,” Heedy said.
Heedy said that green cleaning supplies are not much more expensive than traditional supplies. When a room needs the extra scrubbing, however, he said that custodians continue to use the stronger, more noxious chemicals.
In addition to replacing old cleaning supplies, HRS is focusing on recycling efforts, particularly when renovating old buildings.
During the summer of 2007, San Nicolas Residence Hall was refurbished with all new furniture, and the old furniture did not end up in a landfill.
“The furniture from eight lounges and 400 bed sets were sent to International Relief Network. IRN sent this furniture to places in need, [such as] New Orleans and the Dominican Republic,” Heedy said.
Furniture from San Miguel and Santa Ynez residence halls has also been donated to IRN.
The HRS plans to help the environment go beyond cleaning products and recycled furniture, however, and Heedy said it is constantly looking for new ways to improve.
Most recently, the group has invested in carpet that does not require glue for tacking it down.
“I think environmentally sensitive means something that was made in a way that isn’t harmful to the environment and is used in a way that does not harm the environment,” Heedy said. “We’re very conscious about what we do, and we can always get better.”