CU/Green on clothing and consumer goods

CU/Green: Things Cedarville University should consider doing in order to be good stewards of the Earth.

Flickr photo from stevevance. CC.

Flickr photo from stevevance. CC.

Clothing

  • Encourage the CU community to buy second-hand. Not only will we reduce new-item consumption and decrease clothing in landfills, but we will decrease the demand for sweatshop labor and possibly stop caring as much about the latest “fashions.” Yes, we have to look good for employers (so buy one Brooks Brothers or Express suit for interviews and career day) but we shouldn’t be “about” our looks as much as we are currently.
  • Disallow clothes to be washed in warm or hot water, as cold water is proven to clean just as well as cold water and requires no heating energy.

Consumer goods

  • Encourage the CU community to reduce its consumption of material things. The “do I really need this?” philosophy epitomizes this, but we don’t all have to take on the 100 thing challenge. We should try maintaining libraries of things like tools and specialty electronics. If you don’t know what I’m talking about (“Product service systems”), Wikipedia doesn’t do as well as this Treehugger article at explaining it.
  • Other simple guidelines could include “don’t buy it new if you can fix the old one — but better yet, maintain the one you have.”
  • Tell prospective students and incoming freshmen that since we supply computers for everyone (and public ones in academic buildings), there really isn’t a need for a laptop during the stay here. (Tell them we didn’t used to suggest this before, so that’s why many older students have them.) What about taking notes in class? they might ask. Even though Blackboard use may naturally (or by edict) increase in the coming years, paper notes are the greenest option since laptops purchased as freshmen will almost be out-of-date by graduation, shortly to become deadly e-waste. (E-waste often harms disadvantaged people, according to this report by 60 Minutes.) If incoming students have the money for a laptop, encourage them to stash it away until they graduate, when they can get one that’s up-to-date. Maybe even offer them an interest-bearing account to stuff it in, so they’ll get more bang from their buck from that as well as from Moore’s Law.
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