January 13, 2009
This semester you'll notice something different at the CSU bookstore. Students won't be leaving the store with white plastic bags in hand. Instead, students are asked to B.Y.O.B., or Bring Your Own Bag.
Bring your own bag
John Parry, director of the CSU Bookstore has noticed unnecessary waste, “A lot of students use a (plastic) bag who don’t need it- they have a bag or backpack.”
This semester, plastic bags will not be provided during textbook sales like they have been in the past. Students can bring their own bag or purchase the bookstore's green, reusable bags that will be readily available around the store and check-out for $1.
Collegian advertisements placed last semester and in-store signs this semester should give students a heads-up about the Bring Your Own Bag campaign.
Some students received reusable bags last fall
Every student who reserved textbooks last fall, more than 4,000 students, received one of the bookstore's reusable bags for free. Normally books are given to students in boxes, but this process alone saved the bookstore thousands of boxes that they are reusing for reservations this semester.
Last fall, the reusable bags were also sold at a discounted price.
Parry chose the larger-sized bags in hopes that they would be useful in other ways, not just for bookstore purchases.
Parry keeps several of the reusable bags in his car, “We take them to the grocery store. You can easily fit a gallon or two of milk into one, plus a box of cereal.”
He also suggested that because of the size, it could make a decent gym bag, amongst other things.
Environmentally-friendly reusable bags
The idea started last spring. Parry received an email about a group of college bookstores in Canada describing their switch to reusable bags. He contacted the president of the association he received the e-mail from and the process began.
Several schools grouped together to get a large batch price for reusable bags that met several criteria including: non-woven, biodegradable, recyclable material, azo-free dyes and manufactured in facilities that met fair-labor standards. Some of the by-products of azo dyes are toxic and difficult to remove from the ecosystem.
The European Commission has passed laws restricting the use of azo dyes in materials that come into contact with human skin.
Cut costs, cut waste
The bookstore normally orders more than 100,000 bags every year. This year, they reduced that order by 50,000. “It’ll be a transition,” Parry said.
The bookstore hopes to further reduce their plastic bag consumption next year.
Contact: Leslie Stinson
Phone: (970) 491-4161