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Effort to reduce consumption of single-use bags on campus

The Cornell Store has long supported environmentally responsible use of the “big red bag” plastic bags. Beginning on Earth Day, April 22, 2013, this effort went to a new level through implementation of a five cent fee for any new single-use bag that is requested by customers. The fee will be contributed to a university fund described below. We strongly encourage customers to retain their big red bags, or to use reusable bags or their backpacks.

The fee does not cover the store’s cost to produce the bags, so the Cornell Store is continuing to underwrite the cost of the bags. The revenue collected through the fee will be put into the Green Revolving Fund which was recently established at the university to fund projects that encourage energy conservation and carbon footprint reduction on campus. We are pleased to contribute to this effort to make the campus more sustainable.

We have worked closely with student organizations, especially the Society for Natural Resource Conservation (SNRC) to discuss the implementation of this change. To further garner support for this effort the Student Assembly passed a resolution to decrease the number of bags given out. See “Student Support for a Campus-Wide Plastic Bag Fee.”

The practices we’ve encouraged for many years will continue:

  • Plastic bags are optional at our checkout locations so many customers already decline bags and use their own backpacks or tote bags.
  • The plastic bags that we’ve purchased have the lowest environmental impact we could find (e.g. composed of a high percentage of recycled materials, fully recyclable, and biodegradable), while still being strong enough to hold textbooks and to be reused.
  • There are plastic bag recycling drop-off locations accessible in the store.
  • The Cornell Store was the pilot site on campus for the first plastic film collection process at Cornell.

Efforts to reduce consumption of single-use bags are in place in many parts of the globe. We are pleased to help the Cornell and Ithaca communities increase participation in this cause.

Single-use bag fee

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