New initiative at BU’s University Store aims to reduce waste

For immediate release: Aug. 20, 2007

BLOOMSBURG — The University Store at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania is unveiling a new “Bag the Bag” campaign when students return to campus this week. During the busy back-to-school period, customers will receive a “Bag the Bag” buck each time they choose not to have their purchase placed in a plastic bag. These $1 coupons will be accepted throughout the fall semester toward the purchase of clearance merchandise.

The University Store uses approximately 95,000 plastic bags each year. The weight of textbooks makes paper bags ineffective for carrying most purchases, said Beth Christian, manager of the University Store.

Increased publicity about ecology and recycling led store management to investigate ways the University Store could reduce waste. Store staff noticed that many students remove items from the plastic bags in the store’s lobby and place purchases into their backpacks and totes, tossing plastic bags they used only a few minutes into the trash. Staff brainstormed ideas to encourage students to opt out of taking a bag and the “Bag the Bag” campaign was born.

Additional “Bag the Bag” days will be scheduled throughout the semester to encourage students to continue thinking about reducing needless waste. Clearance sales will offer students many opportunities to use their bucks.

The University Store has begun other efforts to reduce energy use and promote recycling, Christian said. The store is currently converting overhead incandescent lighting to energy-saving light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs and has placed a plastics recycling container in the lobby.

Bloomsburg University is one of 14 universities in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. The university serves approximately 8,000 students, offering comprehensive programs of study in the colleges of Professional Studies, Business, Liberal Arts and Science and Technology.