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.