It’s very obvious to say that Loyola is an extremely sustainable university. We’ve done things like build LEED certified buildings, eliminate bottled water on campus, and built sustainable rainwater collectors. The newest student-run mission at Loyola is to ban plastic bags on campus.
This new mission is being headed by the Student Environmental Alliance organization (SEA) and their plan is to replace plastic bags from all the campus stores and markets with compostable and reusable bags. The mission is called BYOB (Bring Your Own Bag). Many students are worried about the ban because they really like to use the current plastic bags as trash liners. This is understandable and people have lots of other uses for them too. The solution that SEA came up with is using compostable bags. These biodegradable bags are exactly the same size and work exactly the same way as plastic ones, but instead of taking 1000 years to degrade in the environment, it takes as little as three months. So, even if you put trash in the bag, the bag will degrade in the land fill instead of adding to the mass.
There were many steps that Student Environmental Alliance had to take to get this project going. Firstly, they had to get 500 student signatures on a petition in order to get the ban on the USGA ballot. If SEA gets the 500 signatures, the ban will be put on the ballot, which then can be voted on by students at Loyola. The next step is to phase out the plastic and start using the compostable ones.
If the ban is passed, the compostable bags will be purchased with money from The Green Initiative Fund (TGIF). This means it will not cost students any extra money. In addition to the compostable bags, SEA is encouraging the use of backpacks and reusable bags. They are going to be passing out free reusable bags in Damen Student Center to encourage people to ditch plastic bags. SEA is encouraging students to take photos of plastic bags floating around campus, whether they’re in trees, bushes, the lake, in or storm drains as a way to spread awareness about the issue.
Overall, the ban on plastic bags is going to be very good for the university. Hopefully we can set an example for other universities and encourage them to ban plastic bags too.
Loyola Green Initiative Fund (2013, February 26). Loyola TGIF [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VBfYId9yGgE
The City of Houston (2014). Compostable Bags. Retrieved March 13, 2014, from http://www.houstontx.gov/solidwaste/compostablebags.html