Dear Sustainable Abigail #16

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Dear Sustainable Abigail,

I’m a big fan of the EcoRep Newsletters, and often find myself reading through the various facts and figures as I sit in different bathroom stalls around campus. While I definitely appreciate the reading material, I also always can’t help but see the irony in the group that does so much for sustainability using so much paper to talk about sustainability! To be honest, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. Is there an alternative option to promoting and publicizing these newsletters and sustainability in general that doesn’t involve using so much paper?

-Puzzled about Paper Waste

Dear Puzzled about Paper Waste,

I’m glad you wrote in with this question, as it is actually a point that has been brought up to us a few times before. Honestly, we EcoReps all agree with you: it is ironic that we use so much paper to promote sustainability! Unfortunately, that is not to say that it is an easy fix. Producing Newsletters is one of our ways to connect with the Bates Community, and share exciting Sustainability updates, news, or upcoming events, as well as lend advice about how to be sustainable on the Bates campus. That said, we recognize the double-edged sword that is printing these messages and updates on many sheets of paper. One thing that at least alleviates some of my worry about this is that all of Bates paper is 30% recycled! Hooray! Nonetheless, we’ve also been brainstorming about ways to help account for the sustainability that is lost when we print out newsletters. One of the ideas that we’ve had and are hoping to get started is to print on student-recycled paper that has only been used on one side. That way, we’d be using paper that someone had disposed of already, rather than the pristine and clean empty pages that could be used for other things. Of course, this is just one thing that we’ve thought of, but we’d love to hear thoughts from students on campus about how to account for the paper waste that newsletters produce, because I’m sure there are a lot of great and creative ideas out there! If you have an idea, go ahead and send it to me through my Google form, which can be found in Bates Today, or through my question envelope, which hangs on the bulletin board in Commons. A final note I want to share with you is that if the paper newsletters irks you so much that you can’t bear to read it, we do have other mediums through which we share the newsletter, so that we can reach as many people as possible. When a newsletter comes out (which is monthly!), we share it on our Facebook page “Sustainable Bates,” our instagram “BatesEcoReps,” our website “www.bates.edu/sustainability,” and also our news listserv called “EcoRep News.” We are excited about these different platforms to share our newsletters and more, so definitely check them out if you have a chance! We’ll keep brainstorming about how to account for the newsletter paper waste, and again, let us know if you have ideas. Have a great day!

-Sustainable Abigail

Who is Sustainable Abigail? She is a sustainability advocate at your service! If you’re worried about recycling, have ideas about addressing food waste, or concerns about your role promoting sustainability on campus, Abigail is a great resource to turn to. Whatever your sustainable inquiries may be, Abigail is ready to address them all! Simply write to her by either filling out the Google form found in Bates Today or by writing your concern on a piece of paper and placing it into her question envelope in Commons. Any question is valid and appreciated and will stay anonymous, so don’t hesitate to ask!

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