Campus bookstore’s Going Green

Izzy ManzoPhoto Editor

While students shopping at the campus bookstore currently have to pay ten cents for a plastic bag, they will soon be phased out altogether in favor of a more sustainable option.

General Manager Larry Gal said the bookstore is committed to reducing plastic bag use—he encourages students to put what they are buying in their backpacks instead of using a bag. The bookstore also ran a promotion last semester where students who opted against using a plastic bag were given a chip equivalent to a monetary donation which could be put towards either Southern’s community garden or the New Haven Farmer’s Market.

Gal also said that he is currently working with the Office of Sustainability to provide a reusable alternative to plastic bags, which will soon no longer be available in the bookstore.

“Once we get rid of the existing plastic bags we have, we won’t be bringing them back,” he said. “I’m working with [the Office of Sustainability] to ensure that we get rid of plastic bags all together.”

Gal said that the bookstore is currently looking into selling reusable tote bags. While there is not yet a set price, the goal would be to sell a bag for ninety-nine cents, according to Gal.

“We were selling a tote before, but it wasn’t water resistant,” he said. “Our hope is that by Oct. 1 we will not sell plastic bags, and we’ll have a tote developed that we can sell to our customers.”

Nursing major Mariella Landry, a freshman, said a reusable tote would be something of interest to her because she has stopped using plastic bags out of due to environmental concerns.

“I don’t use plastic straws—like, nothing—because I just feel like people don’t take it serious,” she said, “but it is a serious thing.

Psychology major Paige Romei, a senior, has also stopped using plastic bags in order to help the planet rather than because of the tax.

“I think it’s better for the environment that we don’t use plastic bags,” she said. “I haven’t used them for quite some time, and I always carry my own bag on me just for that purpose.”

She said that while the bookstore selling reusable totes is a good idea, it is not something she would personally find beneficial.

“I’ve just been going so long with using my own bag that I guess it could be kind of the same thing,” she said. “So, I would probably just keep doing what I’m doing anyways.”

However, some students are not as supportive of getting rid of plastic bags. An emotional and behavioral disabilities major Jessica Minty, graduate student, said that she upcycles her plastic bags and uses them as garbage bags.

“I feel like, because I reuse the plastic bags, it’s kind of like—it’s just like using a giant trash for your giant trash can,” she said. “I only have garbage in my bathroom, so I use my bags.”

Gal said regardless of the bag tax, he hopes that students are choosing not to use plastic because they know it is harmful for the environment. While getting rid of plastic bags is the most recent step towards going green in the bookstore, it is not the first time that they have promoted sustainable living initiatives. Gal said that for the past five years, caps and gowns for graduation have been made with plastic bottles.

“We reclaim 40 to 50,000 plastic bottles from landfills a year,” he said, adding that it equates to 33 plastic bottles per cap and gown. “It’s kind of a cool thing to promote.”

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