Lancaster University

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Students Given Free Bags For Life

10/09/2008 10:14:23

5,000 students have been given free bags
5,000 students have been given free bags

Five thousand new students at Lancaster University have been given free bags for life as part of a £5,000 environmental initiative.

The scheme is aimed at cutting back on an estimated 250,000 plastic bags handed out at campus shops every year. Shops on campus now ask all customers if they want a bag and shops operated by LUSU charge a penny for each plastic bag. The aim is to encourage students to re-use bags wherever possible.

The bags were given out to some 5,000 freshers at registration as part of an initiative run by GreenLancaster, which is an environmental partnership between Lancaster University Students Union, UPP and Estates.

The Pro Vice-Chancellor for Colleges and Student Experience, Prof Amanda Chetwynd, said: “We are pleased to work in partnership with GreenLancaster to move towards making Lancaster University the first "Plastic Bag Free Campus".

GreenLancaster has already helped increase recycling rates, reduce toxic waste, reduce energy consumption, and make the supply chain environmentally friendly. It has also generated jobs for students, and raised the profile of environmental issues amongst staff and students.

The bags are made in cotton so they are easily foldable, with the logo of the University in green on one side and that of GreenLancaster on the other.

The Environmental Co-ordinator for GreenLancaster Tom Roberts said: “A person’s use of a plastic bag can be counted in minutes. But plastic bags can take between 15 and 1000 years to break down in the environment and cause havoc with bird and marine life in the process. Lancaster students are likely to use well over 1 million bags a year, so behavioural change really can make a difference. Going shopping? Remember to take your GreenLancaster bag with you!’

The Vice-Chancellor Prof Paul Wellings is encouraging students to recycle with a message addressed to them included inside every free bag.

He said: “We are aiming to improve our impact on the environment with the development of new Eco Residences, the employment of a dedicated Environment Team within Estates and support for GreenLancaster among the steps we have taken. This year we want you to help us rid campus of unnecessary plastic bags. Please remember to Reduce, Reuse, Reycle.”