Environmental Activism - Students Take Charge Against Paper Waste

Recently, we stumbled across an inspiring story here at Paperless Kitchen that we just had to share. The hero of the eco-conscious tale is Sam Dabrusin, a student at The University of British Columbia, who has launched an interesting initiative to help reduce paper waste at the university.

After volunteering for Greenpeace, Dabrusin became inspired to start an environmental project of his own that could help locally make a difference in the health of the planet. Then, he recalled his experiences as an exchange student in Japan and devised the perfect plan.

During the year that he studied abroad, Dabrusin had learned to carry a cloth handkerchief with him, as public restrooms in Japan typically didn't offer paper towels or hand dryers. Dabrusin realized that by encouraging his classmates to use handkerchiefs instead of paper towels on campus, he could decrease the university’s waste and eco footprint.

With a total of more than 45,000 undergraduate and graduate students, The University of British Columbia is the third largest university in Canada, and that large student body adds up to a large waste problem. Through his research, Dabrusin learned that the busy Student Union Building on campus threw away around 40 bags of trash per day. Assuming that much of this was likely paper waste from the restrooms, Dabrusin decided to make the building the headquarters for his paperless project.

In the lobby of the building, Dabrusin and a team of volunteers distribute cloth handkerchiefs to the students who pass by. "The Ubyssey" campus paper at The University of British Columbia reports that many students are taking to using the handkerchiefs regularly.

Photo Kai Jacobson/The Ubyssey

Reading about Dabrusin's project is a powerful reminder that all of us can make a difference by thinking creatively about how we can reduce paper waste and encourage others to do the same. Carrying a cloth handkerchief or a small organic cotton towel like the ones in the PeopleTowels collection is a great way to make a simple change that can make a big difference over time.

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