In October PCC student Richard Hasselberger, 22, after one of the many times he witnessed the clutter of wasted paper towels in the campus restrooms, decided it was time to do something about it.Seeds Of Change, a PCC student-activist group of which Hasselberger is a member, had been discussing looking deeper into exactly where the material to make the bathroom tissue came from.

Hasselberger decided to take the initiative.

“Because more environmental friendly companies are generally not exploiting their employees and their sources, the cost of their products are much higher . ” said Hasselberger.

“So the question becomes more complex and we have to ask ourselves: do we want [PCC] to spend more money for the ‘greener’ products, or are we capable of capping our consumption, so that the school will not need to purchase so much of the products we use?”

His research led him to Mark Glanzman, contract specialist for the purchasing office at PCC. From Glanzman, Hasselberger obtained information on the kinds of paper toiletries purchased for PCC, as well as the cost.

The information confirmed what Hasselberger had suspected: the purchased tissue came from Kimberly-Clark, the largest distributor of tissue in the world, which has come under much scrutiny about their use of virgin pulp from endangered rainforests, such as the Boreal rainforest in Canada.

“It’s virgin pulp from the rainforest, that is the big deal,” said Hasselberger.

In addition to depleting some of the worlds only intact ancient rainforests, virgin pulping uses elaborate methods of pulp-making, which have an extensive impact on energy use, air quality, and harbors hazardous waste streams.

In a surprise to Hasselberger, not too long after his most recent meeting with Glanzman, the tissue paper on the entire campus was replaced with a product made from recycled pulp, a method that costs about the same but deals less of a blow to the environment.

Asked why the change was made Glanzman said: “Since that contact [with Hasselberger] we [have] continued to explore the best possible product for standardization for our students, faculty, staff’s usage.”

He added, “We have been researching the green paper products for the past several months and have placed a couple of orders with Unisource for the green seal product and our facilities supervisors seem to be happy with the change.”

Although there was no direct correlation between Hasselberger’s research, and the decision to change to the recycled product, the seriousness of the matter remained and now was put in a moral paradigm by Hasselberger.

“It’s not to say that it isn’t a solution or that it isn’t better, it’s to say that it’s nothing long-term,” he said.

“The real issue has come from the development of our culture,” said Hasselberger.

He argues that present-day consumer culture caters to what is quick, easy, and cost-efficient, and that such ideas are being cognitively engraved into the general population.

“There need to be more people that make the connection every time they use something that comes from the environment,” he said.

For this, Hasselberger uses the word connection in its full essence.

At this point there are no signs that the change to the recycled product is permanent. According to Glanzman, the choice of which product and from which company it will be supplied “is determined on pricing and availability at the time orders are placed.”

Since October Hasselberger has opted to not dry his hands with paper towels in public restrooms and says “it’s nothing that a pair jeans won’t take care of.

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