Campus bookstore inside the Student Union.

Students can purchase items without using plastic bags

UTSA’s on-campus bookstore is going bagless. Students will no longer be given a bag unless they request one when making purchases at the bookstore.

UTSA hopes that limiting the use of plastic in the bookstore can reduce the university’s carbon footprint.

John Palmer, director of the UTSA Rowdy Campus Store, hopes that decreasing the number of plastic bags on campus may contribute to reducing the street litter and improving recycling operations.

“Currently, less than five percent of plastic bags are recycled annually in America, and single-use plastic bags are the fifth most common single-use plastic found in the environment,” Palmer said.

“Going bagless raises awareness of things we can do each day to become better stewards of the environment, and it makes a positive impact,” Palmer said. “We’re proud to be part of a growing shift among companies and cities across the U.S. to reduce waste and the amount of plastic trash entering landfills. Studies show it will take 500 years or more for a plastic bag to degrade in a landfill.”

“Several campus services have been working together to identify ways to eliminate or reduce the use of plastic on campus,” Palmer said. “In support of this sustainability effort, we’re encouraging students to skip the plastic shopping bag when they make a purchase in the campus stores.”

Junior English major, Destine Pelcher, supports the bookstore going bagless.

“Recycling and no longer using bags at UTSA will be another step towards saving our environment from pollution.” – Destine Pelcher

Palmer wants others to make an effort to preserve the environment and offers tips for how to do so. “Spread the word and bring reusable bags to the campus store and everywhere you shop,” Palmer said. “Place recyclables in recycle containers. Use reusable water bottles and coffee cups.”  

According to Palmer, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) offers some tips on greener living as well: use boxes instead of wrapping paper or use wrapping paper made from recycled content. Also avoid dumping motor oil down the drain, recycle plastics in your area and try to reduce the amount of household hazardous waste products such as paints, oils and batteries. For more information, visit https://www.epa.gov/environmental-topics/greener-living.

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