Illustration by Christine Hipp.
Illustration by Christine Hipp.

As UCSC continues to push toward “zero waste by 2020,” paper towels are now in the crosshairs of campus environmentalists. Beginning next year, Cowell College will no longer supply paper towels in the dorms or the apartments.

Cowell and Stevenson administrative officer Jim Carter said student awareness and involvement in conservation has been critical.

“[To be totally] sustainable by 2020 is ambitious, but it’s a good goal,” Carter said. “We want to do whatever we can to get as close to that goal as possible.”

Stevenson and Cowell coffee shops are moving away from paper products as well, as around 40 percent of landfill waste campus-wide is paper towels alone.

Last spring, Stevenson students proposed to replace paper towels with reusable personal hand towels. The switch was a success and the idea has been spreading across campus.

“Awareness about waste is growing and we’re trying to reduce waste wherever possible,” Carter said. “This includes cardboard corrals during move in, swap meets during move out,” and now the absence of paper towels throughout the whole year.