A new campaign advocating for a plastic bag-free campus will potentially make UC Davis the first campus in the nation to ban plastic bags entirely.
The “Have some SWAG, bring your own BAG” campaign, launching Jan. 2, will encourage students to use reusable bags at all UC Davis stores as opposed to wasting a single-use plastic or paper bag with every purchase. A fee of 25 cents will be charged for single-use bags and reusable bags will be sold for 75 cents. Students are encouraged to bring their own bags, free of charge. The policy will be effective at all campus store locations, including the Memorial Union, The Corral, ARC Pro Shop, the Silo and the Veterinary Bookstore.
The policy comes in the wake of efforts in sustainability to make UC Davis a zero-waste campus by 2020. A working group consisting of members of ASUCD, CalPIRG, the UC Davis Bookstore and the Bookstore Advisory Council was created this past year under the Campus Unions Recreation Board (CURB) to discuss and draft a proposal and to implement the campaign. The ASUCD/CURB group hopes to eliminate the use of plastic bags on campus by Fall 2012.
California State University, Long Beach has plans to reduce and eliminate plastic bags, as well.
“We hope to see a drastic reduction in the number of plastic and paper bags wasted at the Bookstore, since the 25-cent charge will make people stop and think if they really need that bag or not,” said senior Darwin Moosavi, former ASUCD senator.
Moosavi started the project two years ago and continued to push for the initiative when he became a senator last year.
“This project has been a long time coming. My hopes are that by the end of the year when we review the proposal, a decision can be made to end the supply of plastic bags entirely,” Moosavi said.
A portion of the money collected from the fee will go toward the cost of the plastic bags themselves, which will be 100-percent biodegradable.
“Sustainability is very important and limiting the use of plastics is a good idea,” said Chuck Kratochvil, the Bookstore director. “The best thing is for students to use what they already have, which in this case is their backpack.”
Cash operations manager Chris Dal Porto is also concerned with the environmental footprint.
“A large amount of non-renewable resources are used to create single-use plastic bags which live a very short life span, and soon after end up in our landfills for thousands of years,” Dal Porto said.
According to Dal Porto, as an incentive to use reusable bags, ASUCD will offer customers a choice of a free scantron or blue book each time they use a reusable bag, for a limited time.
STEPHANIE B. NGUYEN can be reached at email@example.com.