UC Santa Cruz’s Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) department pursued creative solutions to support sustainability while implementing effective health and safety practices in response to COVID-19. With just a few days to roll out options to essential employees before the campus shut down, it would have been easy for zero waste activities to fall by the wayside, but EH&S staff remained committed to supporting campus sustainability. Whether by distributing face coverings, hand sanitizer or disinfectant spray, EH&S helped lead the way in reducing the amount of waste produced by single-use solutions. 

EH&S’s ongoing waste prevention program includes:

  • A partnership with the Theater Arts department to sew reusable, custom fabric masks for all essential employees working on campus.
  • Preparing hand sanitizer in bulk in campus laboratories and providing refills for personal-size containers, as well as working with Custodial Services to evaluate refill options for stand-alone dispenser stations.
  • Coordinating campuswide bulk purchases of the EPA-registered disinfectant preferred by Custodial Services, then dispensing and refilling spray bottles for users throughout campus.
  • Working with departments and Physical Plant Services to ensure effective, but not excessive, use of plastic coronavirus shielding.