Unnecessarily replacing soap dispensers against environmental goals, worsens deficit

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In the restrooms of multiple buildings on campus, perfectly good plastic hand soap dispensers have been replaced with newer plastic dispensers of identical function. Before our deficit-burdened school spends money fixing a problem that does not exist, they should consider our stated, shared goal of “zero waste by 2020.

Achieving this goal takes much more than putting trash in the right bin. It also means extracting maximal utility out of one’s possessions before buying a replacement. Unfortunately, UC Berkeley did not think of this when throwing out and replacing an untold number of fully functional soap dispensers. Even if the old dispensers were diverted from the landfill, waste handling, plastic recycling and the manufacture of new dispensers all generate a carbon footprint.

For the sake of our environment (and the campus budget) I hope the school acts with more prudence in the future.

Ethan McSpadden is a UC Berkeley student.

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  • Brian L

    I don’t have an opinion on this but something else to consider might be to have Moffitt’s toilets flush less often. I think there’s a glitch with the sensors, and frankly I think it would be more power in the hands of the toilet user to replace the sensor with a foot-pedal flush system. Also, although such sensors may not use much electricity, it’s probably a hassle to maintain. So I think it would be a clean idea (for the environment and our hands) to look into replacing old sensors for toilets and faucets with foot-pedals.

  • Nunya Beeswax

    I noticed this too, but I’m more curious to know why the dispensers aren’t refilled reliably. There’s nothing worse than heading to the shower after your workout only to find that there’s no soap in the place.

  • zzz

    Those things cost a few dollars, if the vendor is changing brands the supplier might be handing them out for free.

  • Anonymous

    Often, dispenser refills are changed by the manufacturer (new design, cost of manufacturing, updated manufacturing equipment, etc.) necessitating the change in the dispenser. Also, everything has a lifetime, everything deteriorates, particularly plastics under fluorescent light. The soap dispensers most probably were at the end of their useful life. They will start to break and then this same person will be complaining about “broken soap dispensers”.

  • flashsteve

    This almost reads like an April Fools Day piece. I guess the writer is serious, but, if he was, he would at least have told us why the U felt the need to replace the dispensers.