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May 16, 2014 11:40 AM EDT

Berkeley Students Request More Sustainable Cap And Gowns Before Commencement

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Students at the University of California - Berkeley are requesting environmentally friendly caps and gowns just five days before graduation, Campus Reform reported.

The senior editorial board of the school's newspaper, The Daily Californian, is complaining that their biodegradable cap and gowns are not green enough and it's an embarrassment to the school.

"Our campus buys the biodegradable option from this corporation, but without more recycling or reuse effort, these make little impact on the overall waste created," states an editorial published on Monday. "This is not the image that UC Berkeley's commencement should project."

In the editorial, students also said students should offer gowns made of sustainable materials such as postconsumer plastics or renewable fibers.

However, Berkeley is reportedly going beyond biodegradable gowns to make the ceremony environmentally friendly.

"We'll have large water dispensers to cut down on the number of disposable water bottles, we'll use recyclable and compostable plates and utensils for catering, and we will have donation bins where students will be able to donate their gowns for reuse as part of the campus Graduation Gown-Lending Project," Andy Pino, spokesperson for the university, told Campus Reform.

The students said the school's efforts are just a "halfway point toward a sustainable commencement."

"The UC Berkeley campus has made significant efforts toward sustainability, and the city of Berkeley has a commitment to achieve zero waste by 2020. But the standard cap and gown set is still an expensive ecological waste item," states the editorial.

They said the university should place more emphasis on publicizing and expanding programs for reuse of graduation gowns.

 These requests were made just five days before the commencement ceremony, which is on Saturday.

"We recognize that there will always be costs associated with commencement, but gowns could be produced in a way that is both cost-effective and at least ecologically neutral," the senior editorial board of the school newspaper said. 

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