This fall marks the second year of the University’s partnership with the startup Generation Conscious to provide eco-friendly laundry strips for the student body. In the 2020–21 academic year, the Sustainability Office piloted the program, but faced a slow start due to COVID-19 and low publicity. As of Fall 2021, the program has taken off due to more on-campus activity and increased accessibility.
Generation Conscious offers two options: 100 unscented detergent strips for $20 or 100 scented detergent strips for $25. When students purchase either of these options, they receive 10 refills of 10 strips each. Students can place orders online and pick up the strips, along with a reusable container, at Cardinal Tech. Subsequent refills can be collected at WesStation.
According to Sustainability Director Jennifer Kleindienst, The Sustainability Office piloted this program to increase financially accessible sustainability efforts at the University.
“I’m hoping we can have programs that address access issues because sometimes ‘sustainable’ products end up having a higher price tag and end up not accessible for those who have a harder family situation,” Kleindienst said. “[Other companies are] working with a lot of major corporations to make food and personal care products available in refillable containers right now, and from what I’ve seen, because I’ve looked into it, the prices are insane.”
In addition to its affordable prices, Generation Conscious is working with the Sustainability Office to make the strips free for First-Generation and Low-Income (FGLI) students. Those who qualify can pick them up at the Resource Center throughout the academic year.
Kleindienst noted that this program also effectively complements the University’s free laundry policy this year.
“Wesleyan’s recognized an accessibility issue of doing laundry and this fits into it,” Kleindienst said. “The idea is two-fold: one, that people use an environmentally responsible product and two, that they can do that in a way that doesn’t cost them a lot of money, and hoping that works for people.”
Generation Conscious also offers zero-waste toothpaste tablets, which can be purchased at Cardinal Tech.
“Right now the only two products that I know of that Generation Conscious is making are the laundry strips and the toothpaste tablets,” Kleindienst said. “But I know they’ve experimented with different things in the past and might be thinking about other products in the future.”
Clarification: This article mistakenly said that the Green Fund paid for the FGLI free strips for this year, instead of the Sustainability Office. This article has been updated to include this change.
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