Cal Zero Waste holds Environmentally Preferred Products Road Show on campus

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Justice Delos Santos/Staff

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Cal Zero Waste held the Environmentally Preferred Products (EPP) Road Show, an event to promote sustainable practices in the workplace, in the Valley Life Sciences Building courtyard Wednesday morning.

The idea of the event was to inform those in charge of purchasing for offices and labs of alternative options, and to encourage them to choose environmentally friendly products and companies.

According to Cal Zero Waste’s description of the event on its website, the intent of the EPP Road Show was to showcase “products that produce less waste than their counterparts or are made out of recycled content.”

Ashton Fandel, a Cal Zero Waste staff associate, said Cal Zero Waste has an educational side and an operational side, which manages and services the waste bins around campus. According to Fandel, the educational side of Cal Zero Waste aims “to get the university into a place of awareness of waste reduction … and trying to get (the campus) to the Zero Waste by 2020 goal.”

Several companies attended to advertise environmentally preferred products and to hand out samples and also made an effort to educate attendees about their contributions to environmental sustainability and waste reduction.

Chad Jenkins, the vice president of E&K Scientific, a provider of laboratory supplies, displayed various lab materials and promoted smarter recycling practices in the lab.

“You’ve got to educate people,” Jenkins said. “At the end of the day it’s people … that are in the lab that make the choice of what to do with (plastic waste).”

Cal Zero Waste, as well as all companies represented, emphasized the importance of education and awareness in promoting environmental change.

“I think promoting awareness is always important even if it’s just having a show like this (where) people see that there are other options and realize their consumption in every aspect of their life,” Fandel said.

Brad Johnson, the campus solutions executive for Ricoh USA Inc., a business services and printing company, said he is currently working with another campus and mentioned the possibility of lowering the campus’s carbon footprint by 1.5 million pounds a year. In order to do a project like that, however, he said the campus needs to focus on the “big picture.”

Gary Simms, the inside sales executive of Give Something Back Office Supplies, attended the event to promote the company’s refillable pens, Pilot’s B2P, which is made out of recycled plastic water bottles.

The organizations and companies that participated were optimistic about their role in shaping a greener, more sustainable future for the campus and beyond.

“I don’t think this event will stop global warming, but I think that promoting a change or reorientation of culture and consumption, and trying to reorient towards more of a cyclical waste model or at least less of a rapidly consumptive waste model is always better,” Fandel said.

Contact Jasmine Tatah at [email protected].