sheep furniture

In efforts to reduce waste, campus groups are planning “free days’” for tomorrow and Saturday where the public can come collect used furniture from the soon to be demolished Smyth-Fernwald Complex. The Daily Cal reports: “On July 13 and 14 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., the campus programs will host a “Free Day” outside of Clark Kerr Campus Building 5, which will be open to all campus faculty, staff, students and general public, to come and salvage free desks, shelves, chairs, sofas, tables and other reusable items from the complex.”

Don’t feel like shopping for that new couch for next year? Get out to CK tomorrow. And bring a car to help you carry the load back home. Or lots of friends. But mainly, a car.

Image source: buffcorephil under Creative Commons

This is an ordinary dumpster, not Gregory Kloehn's dumpster house.

This is an ordinary dumpster, not Gregory Kloehn's dumpster house.

Berkeley’s all about living a sustainable lifestyle; reducing, reusing and recycling whenever you can and being a “green as possible” kind of person. We know that — we’ve been carting reusable water bottles all over the place for the past few years. But there’s someone who takes the “waste not, want not” mindset to a whole new level, and his name is Gregory Kloehn. He’s a local guy who likes to make things, and most recently he took a dumpster and made it into a home.

If you were thinking he just cut some windows out of the sides and threw a beanbag chair into the bin, you’d be sorely mistaken. Kloehn’s dumpster house is the real deal — complete with running water, a working stove and stainless steel appliances!

Don’t believe us? Check out the video that Berkeleyside has accompanying their article on Kloehn’s creation. It’s enough to make you want to give up that overpriced shared apartment you’re living in and turn to the nearest trash receptacle for inspiration.

Image Source: mike fischer under Creative Commons
Berkeley man makes a (really rather nice) dumpster home [Berkeleyside]

greenSince it’s Earth Week and all, we figured that we would bombard you with more eco-friendly stuff. Coinciding with Earth Day, a new e-waste center, GreenCitizen, will open tomorrow at 1971 Shattuck Avenue. Customers will be able to drop off their old electronics computers, cell phones and batteries.

GreenCitizen is able track where each item is sent after it is dropped off in order to ensure that it is sent to one of two plants in California, where it will then be recycled or re-used. Ultimately GreenCitizen hopes to “reduce everyone’s carbon footprint.”

Hopefully this store will inspire us to actually recycle the ever-growing mountain range of batteries in our rooms.

Image Source: Erin_Beth under Creative Commons
For Earth Day, a new e-waste recycling center in Berkeley [Berkeleyside]

energy meter infoYou may have heard of cuts to campus recycling, much to the enthusiasm of “local entrepeneurs” who have picked up right where campus custodians left off. And with some making up to $10 an hour, competition has gotten fierce.

But the campus can’t rely solely on these recycling veterans, especially if we hope to reach our goal of becoming a zero-waste campus by 2020, one set by the former UC President in 2007. But it seems that the spirit of environmental enlightenment that we’ve always prided ourselves on is still alive, at least at FSM.the tube

At first we noticed what seemed to be a kitschy neon rainbow tube smack dab in the center of the cafe. But upon closer inspection the thing turns out to be monitoring our energy usage: color-coated according to the source of the consumption. The bar also doubles as a distraction from your studying. Oooahhh.

Also, there’s now a permanent partition between FSM and Moffit, perhaps to deter non-purchasing energy consumers. Congrats, FSM, for making an effort to make our campus a little more environmentally conscious. Now maybe you can work on that sludge that you call coffee.

Image Source: Ruby Lee
Cuts Curtail Campus Recycling [Daily Cal]

It’s the quintessential story with all the right components to tear at the Berkeley citizen’s heart: a humble non-profit, an evil government agency, and a valiant fight to end global warming and allow underprivileged school children to have access to MySpace …

A center in Berkeley that recycles and restores computers and other electronics faces the possibility of closing after the Department of Toxic Substance Control cited the facility for failing to maintain a proper inventory of the material they divert and for stockpiling material for more than one year. So far, the center must get up to par or face gargantuan fines, unless further negotiations between the two sides solve this tiff in another way.

Not like we’re taking sides, but it is interesting that the recent drama with the Alameda County Computer Recycling Center has such archetypal Berkeley heroes and villains (Correction: Computer Resource Center).

OK, so according to the Department of Toxic Substance Control, the Berkeley-based ACCRC is violating one of their codes. And the Department of Toxic Substance Control is a division of the Environmental Protection Agency, so that complicates things.

It’s kind of hard to avoid setting aside some “still-salvagables” when you are scrambling to repair thousands of recycled computers and to donate them to schools, groups and individuals around the world. On top of it all, the ACCRC had to find time to be named one of four “Heroes” by CNN for “innovative efforts to preserve and protect the environment.” Saving the world happens on a busy schedule. Fines—or worse yet, closing—will make it bit harder for them to save the world.

In all seriousness though, while the DTSC supposedly protects the environment, it is demanding that things that can be recycled or donated instead should be thrown into the dump.

That doesn’t sound like a fairy-tale ending …

Image Source: Fruggo
Nonprofit Electronics Recycling Center Faces Heavy State Fines [Daily Cal]
State Tries to Reduce Waste by Penalizing Berkeley Recycling Center [92510]
CNN Heroes: Ordinary people, extraordinary achievements [CNN]