Cal Dining to Stop Blue Books Sales in Favor of a 'Green' Alternative

Photo: Green books are partially made of recycled paper and post-consumer waste. Starting next semester, UC Berkeley's dining services will sell only green books rather than blue books.
Emma Lantos/Staff
Green books are partially made of recycled paper and post-consumer waste. Starting next semester, UC Berkeley's dining services will sell only green books rather than blue books.

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In an effort to be more environmentally friendly, UC Berkeley's dining services will no longer sell blue books to students but instead will only offer recycled "green books," beginning next semester.

This initiative was first proposed to Cal Dining by the campus Residence Hall Assembly on June 14 when Jesus Galindo, vice president of advocacy and outreach for the assembly, met with Cal Dining Director Shawn LaPean to suggest the complete transition from selling both blue and green books to only selling green books in campus restaurants and residential retail locations.

LaPean said Cal Dining decided to stop ordering blue books as part of the campus's mission to seek sustainable alternatives to conventional products, adding that green books are also currently of "slightly less cost" to Cal Dining than blue books.

Both exam books cost customers $0.45, yet the green books are 60 percent sustainable, according Galindo. The inside of the green books are 30 percent recycled paper and 30 percent post-consumer waste, and the covers are 50 percent recycled material and 30 percent post-consumer waste, LaPean said.

Currently, a limited amount of blue books remain in the seven campus restaurants and four residential retail locations, including Bear Market.

According to LaPean, the last blue book order was in March 2010, and Cal Dining is now waiting to sell the remaining books, which he said should be sold out by the end of the fall semester.

ASUC Cooperative Movement Senator Elliot Goldstein has also been working to make the complete transition to green books in the Cal Student Store as a part of the platform he ran on in last year's ASUC elections. He said the only concern for getting rid of all blue books is that often students do not realize that green books are accepted by professors just as blue books are.

"What (Jeff Deutsch, Cal Student Store director) did was put green books higher on bookshelves and put a sign explaining they're the same as blue books," Goldstein said.

Deutsch said that since he put up the sign last semester, the student store has sold more green books.

According to Residence Hall Assembly Advisor James Carroll, this is not the first time the assembly has teamed up with Cal Dining to increase student sustainability. Last year, the assembly suggested tray-less dining, an idea which Cal Dining implemented last semester.

Galindo said one of his future goals is to switch to even more environmentally friendly exam books by upping the books' sustainability to 100 percent. Galindo said the assembly is working to get exam books made of 100 percent recycled paper for next semester, though LaPean said such a move could increase prices.

LaPean said he is still waiting to hear back from the vendor on how much of a price increase the switch could necessitate.


Contact Katie Bender at [email protected]

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