Charities benefit from BU’s University Store initiative

For immediate release: August 13, 2008

BLOOMSBURG — The Town of Bloomsburg Recycling Center and two other charities will benefit from “Using Less, Caring More,” a new initiative to reduce use and waste at the University Store at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania.

“Using Less, Caring More,” similar to last fall’s “Bag the Bag” effort, will reward students and other customers who choose not to accept shopping bags when they make purchases. Each customer who declines a plastic shopping bag will receive a custom-designed wooden nickel to place in one of three glass jars representing organizations that promote recycling or green-earth causes. At the end of the fall semester, the University Store will make a donation equal to the total dollar amount of wooden nickels in each charity’s jar.

Beth Christian, University Store manager, said choosing the local recycling center builds on a relationship that already exists between BU and the local facility. The other charities will be selected by students after fall classes begin on Aug. 25.

Last year’s “Bag the Bag” resulted in an unexpected side effect, an abundance of plastic bags in the stockroom, according to Christian. “Last year’s initiative was so successful that the University Store still has about 30,000 plastic bags on hand,” she said. “When the supply runs out, the store will convert to new bags made from at least 25 percent post-consumer and post-industrial waste materials.

“We see the ‘Using Less, Caring More’ theme as an inspiration for continuing efforts to reduce consumption and promote recycling within the University Store,” she said. “For example, we’re developing an online textbook adoption process that allows faculty members to digitally notify the store of their textbook selections and eliminates paperwork. Our staff now sends out customer orders in boxes and packing materials from incoming shipments and, during the coming year, we will begin to digitally store our records.”

The University Store, a division of the Community Government Association (CGA), also is offering a larger selection of merchandise manufactured from recycled materials, including notebooks, paper and travel mugs, she added.

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.