The Office of Sustainability and the University Bookstore partner to create a more sustainable campus

The Office of Sustainability and the University Bookstore partner to create a more sustainable campus

Anna Muckenfuss, Appalachian Weekly News Producer

The Office of Sustainability and the University Bookstore are collaborating on a new initiative to promote zero waste on campus, by offering reusable utensils, straws and napkins for purchase in the bookstore.

Students can also gain access to the same items by volunteering with the Office of Sustainability.

“The bookstore has a strong relationship with the Office of Sustainability, and we have worked together since the office was first established,” Trixie Wilkie, the marketing and visual merchandise manager at the University Bookstore, said. “Projects we have partnered on in the past include a reusable water bottle and a reusable shopping bag. We will soon be selling reusable straws in support of the initiative by the Office of Sustainability and Food Services to reduce waste by reducing plastic straw use on campus.”

The Office of Sustainability works to guide and support the university by developing goals that promote sustainability by creating partnerships between students, faculty and staff, creating guidelines that foster education and learning about sustainability, and infix sustainable practices into a way of life, according to their website.

“The education our office does around campus has been very successful,” Jennifer Maxwell, the sustainability program manager, said. “We do a sustainability in literacy survey that are taken by freshmen and juniors so we can learn how successful our efforts in sustainability are. We have outreach interns that go around to clubs and classes and teach about our zero waste initiative.”

The reusable silverware that is now being sold in the bookstore is part of an initiative by the university and the Office of Sustainability to decrease the amount of landfill diversion, or waste on campus that is diverted from a landfill.

“In 2012 we set a 10 year goal to have 90 percent landfill diversion,” Maxwell said. “We average around 40 percent landfill diversion. When we give away promotional items in the Office of Sustainability, we try to have them focus on zero waste and reducing consumption, which is why we now have the utensils and the towels. We’ve done reusable bags and water bottles in the past. ”

Students can find the reusable bamboo utensil kit and the reusable napkin in the bookstore and can purchase the utensils for $11.99 and the napkins for $6.99. The profit from all sales at the bookstore, go to fund student scholarships at Appalachian State, according to Wilkie.

Next year, the bookstore plans to sell a T-shirt manufactured by a local company called TSDesigns, made from cotton that is grown, manufactured and designed in North Carolina. The bamboo utensils come from a company called Chicobag, and the napkins, which are made from fair trade cotton, come from a company called People Towel.

“Our student population is sustainably minded, and the bookstore is always seeking ways to provide the products students are looking for,” Wilkie said. “I think it is important when attempting to beneficially impact the environment that consumers have the option of buying a product that is responsibly sourced and also attractive. Making reusable products mainstream is key to the majority buying into the idea.”

Story and Photo by: Anna Muckenfuss, News Reporter

Featured Photo Caption: The bamboo utensils and the reusable napkins can be found in the bookstore beside the hammocks.