New Brunswick Students Bagging Bad Habits


NJPIRG, a student group at Rutgers, is spending this semester running a campaign called Sustainable U that is making an effort to ban plastic bags on and off campus.

Students make creative visual displays to draw attention to the harms of plastic bags. photo credit :

Currently there is an island of trash twice the size of Texas floating in the ocean and 80% of this waste is plastic.

Do you know how much of this plastic is your waste? As a community, Rutgers uses 19.5 million plastic bags every year. That’s around 500 bags per student, per year. By choosing reusable bags instead, Sustainable U hopes to bring that number down to something you can count on one hand.

Sustainable U will be hosting a free movie event where they will be showing Bag It, a film about the harm of excess plastic and giving out free Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream. Interns and volunteers have been spreading the word by talking to students on campus and encouraging them to pledge against plastic bags. In addition, Sustainable U is working with faculty to try and remove plastic bags from dinning halls and student centers. Off campus, they are informing local businesses of the harms from use of plastic bags and encouraging them get “green certified” by making the switch to a more eco-friendly alternative. Thanks to several local supermarkets, NJPIRG will be giving out reusable canvas bags to students on campus in the upcoming weeks to help make the switch easier.

So what does Sustainable U want from their fellow students? Come watch a movie while you eat Ben and Jerry’s, take the canvas bag that will be handed out around campus and most importantly, use it! Free movie, free ice cream, free bag… doesn’t seem too bad, huh?

More information about the student’s efforts and the film screening can be found on their facebook page.


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