University of California Adopts Green Purchasing, Climate Policies
The University of California has adopted a new environmental sustainability policy that includes provisions on energy, global warming, waste recycling, green building and transport, and eco-friendly purchasing for its 10 campuses. The new policy is winning praise from environmentalists.
UC becomes the first university in the nation to adopt guidelines for buying greener electronics, disposing of e-waste, and take-back recycling.
With over 200,000 UC students, the university purchases more than 10,000 computers each month and disposes of about one million pounds of e-waste each year. UC students themselves buy millions of computers, cell phones, MP3 players, and other electronics every year.
UC’s passage of the Sustainability Policy comes after a yearlong effort of the student-run Toxic Free UC campaign sponsored by the Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition.
Under its new policy, UC will buy only products registered under EPEAT, the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool, a program of the nonprofit Green Electronics Council.
Similar to the federal government’s Energy Star program for energy efficiency, EPEAT measures laptops, desktop computers, and monitors according to a set of environmental standards such as reduction in harmful chemicals, designs that are more easily recycled, and product longevity.
UC has outlined a set of responsible recycling criteria that must be met by any manufacturer or recycler that handles UC e-waste, including a ban on export and prison labor.
In addition, UC has joined the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment, an effort to address global warming by neutralizing greenhouse gas emissions on campuses and accelerating research and educational efforts to equip society to re-stabilize the Earth’s climate.