Have you seen the plastics display in the main floor concourse near Student Life? It’s made from used plastic bags and plastic bottles collected during World Water Week. The photos next to the plastics chain give you a glimpse of the environmental problems associated with accumulating plastics in our ecosystem. BUT, do you know who is NOT contributing to the plastic pandemic? The LSC Store!
LSC’s commitment to waste reduction can be seen throughout the campus, from worm composting to recycling uncommon waste, we’ve committed to diverting our waste load from the landfill. The very best way to do this, though, is to change the procedures that bring that waste to our campus in the first place. Four years ago, the LSC Store manager, Connie Moore, decided to make a real change in the way she operated the store. Like many retail shops, our campus store sent customers out the door with high quality, single-use, plastic bags to carry their newly purchased text books and other items. Recognizing the waste this generated, Connie made a change that stuck. The LSC Store now gives away re-usable tote bags with each text book, supply, and merchandise purchase. If students bring in their own bag, they receive $1 off their purchase. Connie reports, “Cloth bags are about 40 percent more expensive than plastic, but we feel they are worth that extra expense”. Since moving away from plastic, the LSC Store has given away nearly 10,000 reusable bags. Those bags can be seen on student’s shoulders all year, and with various uses: lunch bags, gym bags, even diaper bags!
EZ Books @ the LSC Store
Additionally, the bags serve as a promotional tool. They are adorned with the LSC EZ Books Reservation logo, which is another program the LSC Store recently launched. Many students order books online. Before EZ Books, the only way to receive those books was through the mail, creating additional emissions through the shipping process. Now, EZ Books allows students to pick up reserved books at the EZ Books distribution window. The EZ books system also gives students first dibs on the used book supply, and students can grab their books in a free tote bag when they’re on campus.
Bag It, Duluth
A local group of passionate plastic bag crusaders, called Bag It, Duluth, is working to create an awareness and dialog about the use of plastic bags. They’re urging businesses and consumers to think a bit differently about the plastic bag that is used once, sometimes for only a few minutes, then discarded in a landfill where it will sit for at least 1,000 years. Worldwide, 1 trillion plastic bags are used annually. Use less where you can, recycle where available (like here, at LSC!), and check out this light-hearted YouTube video, The Majestic Plastic Bag: A Mocumentary.