The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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Associated Students pass resolution banning plastic bags

The Edge Convenience Store in the Matador Bookstore Complex is one of several places on campus that distributes plastic bags. Tessie Navarro / Multimedia Editor

The Associated Students passed a bill banning single-use plastic bags from the CSUN campus in order to become a more eco-friendly campus.

The bill was passed on Feb. 21 and includes providing 8,000 free, foldable and reusable bags to incoming freshman during their orientation for a period of three years.

“CSUN is planning to ban the distribution of plastic bags and educate students about it. It won’t include franchises like Panda Express and Subway,” said Max Aram, director of environmental affairs for CSUN’s A.S. and author of of the bill. “A.S. will provide reusable bags as a gift to incoming freshman during their orientation.”

The bill is not only supposed to help save the environment, but also save the campus money too, Aram said.“It’s going to save the school a lot of money because the convenience stores pay for these plastic bags. If we can promote this culture on campus then we can save money,” Aram said.

Some students are skeptical about the fiscal costs of this bill, and how it will impact fees.

“I would be interested in learning more about why this resolution was passed,” said Cody Deitz, a senior majoring in English. “While we do have plenty of vendors that give students plastic bags, there certainly aren’t an overwhelming number of plastic bags I’ve seen on campus. It also raises the question of how the university intends to pay for a reusable bag for every student, especially when we’re experiencing the financial troubles we are.”

There will be an option for students to purchase reusable bags in convenience stores and the matador bookstore, Aram said.

The re-usable bags will cost anywhere from 90 cents to over $5 each, depending on the quality of the bag. A.S. will approve the purchase, Aram said. Some students are critical of the financial costs of the resolution, but still see the positive reasoning behind it.

The main reasons Aram is in favor of this ban is that Californians use about 19 billion plastic bags each year, with only 5 percent being recycled, according to California’s Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery. The estimated cost to clean this up is about $25 million per year, according to the California Integrated Waste Management board.

“The negative impact of plastic bags on the environment is inevitable. We (CSUN) are using almost 17 million plastic bags. If we can launch this, then students can speak to their parents and spread this culture as well. It can impact the neighboring communities as well,” Aram said.

Aram and the Environmental Affairs Committee will promote this resolution with a booth to educate students on Earth Day, April 19. They will also use social networking to spread the word.

A.S. will have a meeting with the manager of food services and the director of the bookstore tomorrow to discuss the details of their cooperation with the ban. Aram said they have been very supportive so far.

The launch date for this ban is tentatively scheduled for the last month of this semester but may be pushed back to the fall, Aram said. The deciding factor will be results of student surveys which will be randomly distributed on campus and during the A.S. election to gauge whether students are ready for this change.

“We will try to launch it after we phase out the plastic bags already purchased. We will look at our contracts and if we can return them we will, and then stop purchasing them,” Aram said. “In the bookstore we will use up the ones we have and not order them anymore since these already have the logo on them we can’t return them.”

The city of Los Angeles has already passed their own ordinance to ban plastic bags which is supposed to go into effect at the end of this month.

“I think the resolution to ban plastic bags will have a positive impact on CSUN students and the campus and community. It shows that, as a community, we’re willing to do away with the most wasteful aspects of our lives, like plastic bags,” Deitz said.

“Even if a few members of our campus take the time to do the right thing, it will catch on with others and have a positive impact. The use of reusable bags has certainly caught on with grocery shoppers. Why not here?” Deitz added.


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