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Environmental Science and Policy
Concerns about climate change are widespread, and Smith College, like many other institutions, is working to reduce its impact. Laundry is a frequently overlooked, yet water- and energy-intensive process happening extensively, all over campus, with an estimate of students washing 60,000 loads annually. Through surveying students, interviewing the woman who oversees Smith’s laundry contract with Mac-Gray Corporation, and reviewing articles on the environmental impacts of laundry use and the programs happening on other campuses, a deeper understanding of the current state of laundry at Smith is developed. Smith currently has high-efficiency washing machines, charges more for paying with quarters than with a OneCard, and most students air dry some of their clothes each time they wash them. Improvements could be made by providing more drying racks for students to air dry clothing, increasing education about the environmental impacts of laundry use, and supplying an environmentally-friendly detergent for student use in the laundry rooms.
© 2008; Rowan Van Ness
Van Ness, Rowan, "Cleaning Up Laundry: An Analysis of the Environmental Impacts of Student Laundry Use and Recommendations for Smith College" (2008). Capstone, Smith College, Northampton, MA.
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