Plastic or Planet

Concerned members of the Adams State University community formed a club, Environmental Action for Resources, Transportation and Health (EARTH). The club's purpose is to explore ways to make the campus environment more sustainable or "greener."

Part of ASU Community Partnerships' mission is to assist the San Luis Valley community in addressing community challenges through partnerships, projects and forums. Towards that effort, ASU Community Partnerships developed the "Plastic or Planet?" program not only to raise consumers’ awareness about plastic consumption but to raise funds that will leverage additional funding for environmental projects. Staff members have developed a marketing plan that is designed to remind people to "recycle, re-use and re-purpose".

The City Market in Alamosa has agreed to sell the bags at its store and offer a rebate for promoting use of those bags back to Community Partnerships and EARTH. Adams State University's administration has purchased a reusable bag for every ASU employee. Other corporate sponsors are being sought. For more information on the program call ASU Community Partnerships at (719)587-8209.

The reusable grocery bags are made from natural cotton canvas, and when used on shopping trips they eliminate the waste of plastic bags. Not only is using the bags a way to help to reduce waste, but it is also a way to give back to the community. Each time a bag is used at City Market or Safeway in Alamosa, a small donation is given back to Adams State University Community Partnerships and the EARTH group. The bags will be available at City Market, Safeway, the Valley Food Cooperative, the Adams State Bookstore, or by contacting Community Partnerships at 719-587-8209.

The facts on plastic bag usage can be startling. Four to five trillion plastic bags are manufactured worldwide each year. Many of these plastic bags end up in landfills or are carried by the wind into forests, ponds, rivers, lakes, and the ocean. Plastic bags are often mistaken as food by marine animals, and about 100,000 marine animals die each year from ingesting plastic waste.

Reusable Bags Sell on Earth Day

Volunteers Sandy Ortega, second left, and Miles Eddy, seated, sell reusable bags to shoppers on Earth Day.