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University Of Virginia Tries Compostable Sheets For Freshman Orientation


Preparing for the school year to begin can be a drain on resources for colleges across the country, and not just economically. Setting up visiting days and orientations requires the preparation of large amounts of food, printing thousands of pamphlets, providing rooms for thousands of students, and cleaning up after the events, all of which can take a toll on the environment. Which is why University of Virginia (UVA) teamed up with Black Bear Composting to tackle one waste stream—bedding. 

During visiting days, thousands of bedsheets are used by overnight students and guests for, at most, a few nights. Washing all these sheets can take a toll on the environment. A typical load of laundry uses 30 to 40 gallons of water, and uses a lot of energy to heat the water. On top of that, many laundry detergents are harmful to the environment; each cycle releases toxins into the environment that could have as much impact on climate change per load as a car driving one mile. Since sheets are bulky, it would take a lot of energy to wash the thousands sets used by visiting students to UVA—and a lot of waste, too.