BCC Bookstore to do away with plastic bags

Written by: Adam Magnoni & Nicole Ogden
You may have noticed, as it is not that easy to miss, that all the current trends involve “going green.” From food to clothing to cars, many aspects of daily life have a “green” aspect to them these days. The environmental shadow being cast upon the planet has given way to many changes, some welcome and some a little tougher to deal with. The BCC Bookstore will be doing away with its use of plastic bags for purchased items and providing a more environmentally sound alternative. The new policy is aiming to take effect this coming fall, but this is not written in cement as the bookstore plans to use the remaining plastic bags it has purchased and then implement the change. What the alternative will be has not yet been determined. There was speculation of re-usable cotton bags that would be light and durable. Whether or not these bags would be sold or given to students remains to be seen. Deborah Kilgren, Assistant Bookstore Manager, speculated that the reusable bags would be chosen over another disposable utensil. When asked whether the bags would be given to students or sold, she admitted the decision hadn’t yet been made but that if sold, the price would be nominal. Books, along with supplies for art and other classes of the like, are expensive and western Washington weather can be damp to say the least, so getting a purchase from the store to the car is something that needs to be thought about. As of now, the plastic bags that are given to students are light, durable and readily available, even if not the best choice when considering Mother Nature. “You can carry more with plastic bags, paper ones break,” said BCC student Andrew Cosby. Maybe not the politically correct answer one would expect, but a sentiment shared by more than one. “(An alternative would be) a lot better, as long as the bag has handles,” said Evi Stenberg, another student shopping at the bookstore. There is also the concern that with book prices being what they are, to charge for a mode of transporting them would be more than a student bargained for. One’s convenience is a hard thing to compromise, but the concern is quite real, and staff at BCC is doing what they can to eliminate even more waste. When new books are ordered from the publisher they are bound together in bulk numbers to make shipping easier. The plastic used is not recyclable and causes a substantial amount of garbage each year. The Environmental Advisory Council, which has chapters across the nation, urged teachers to consider the “bundling” process when ordering books for coming quarters. They urge teachers to use textbooks for several quarters, even years, as the longer a text is applied the more used copies will be made available to students. If a textbook is used continually for two years then teachers may be eligible to participate in a “textbook rental” program in which the bookstore would buy the textbook up front and then rent it to students at a much cheaper price. “The individual departments and faculty are looking at that, because it does seem to be strange since we are doing away with the plastic bags,” said Kilgren. She went on to say, “Some will be making changes, but that may take some time.” The BCC bookstore is continually working to reduce waste by offering office products made from recycled materials If they were to do away with plastic bags all together it would be a groundbreaking move as would the nationally recognized textbook rental program.