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Northwest Missouri State University


News Release

Textbook Pickup

Over the weekend, Northwest students picked up their textbooks in green cloth bags in an effort aimed at reducing the amount of paper and plastic bags sent to landfills. Previously, textbooks were packaged for students in paper bags. (Photo by Darren Whitley/University Relations)

Jan. 13, 2010

Waste-reducing effort reaches second phase

MARYVILLE, Mo. - The "Reduce Your Paw Print" Project, a program at aimed at decreasing the volume of paper and plastic shopping bags that end up in landfills, has moved into its second phase this month.

Over the weekend, all undergraduate students at Northwest received their rental textbooks in the cloth sacks - erasing about 428 pounds of paper waste. All faculty and staff who attended the opening employee meeting on Jan. 6 also were offered a bag.

The Bearcat Bookstore, along with the campus convenience stores located in The Station and the Garrett-Strong Science Building, are using the bags to sack groceries and other purchased items for as long as their supply lasts. The bags also are available to students taking classes at the university's outreach centers in St. Joseph and Liberty.

The cloth bags are expected to save about 110 pounds of plastic bag waste, and about 74 pounds of plastic bags have been saved so far. That's significant, considering about 3,300 plastic shopping bags weigh 35.5 pounds.

"Everyone has a role to play in improving the way we use resources on this planet," said Lezlee Johnson, the project manager for the grant and associate director of Environmental Services at Northwest. "The 'Reduce Your Paw Print' project is about each of us in our extended Northwest family getting one more thing right for the environment. This project reduces waste and helps each of us develop the habits that will help our world become the world we envision."

Nancy Baxter, who works in the university's Office of Finance and Operations and is the project's financial manager, said she hopes students and faculty will develop a habit of using the cloth bags when they shop on and off campus.

"All of the businesses in town will allow you to use a cloth bag and are pleased to accept and put purchases in the bags," Baxter said. "It's the whole idea of getting to use bags over and over."

Funding for the program was provided by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources through a Northwest Missouri Regional Solid Waste Management District grant of $8,736, along with $2,000 from ARAMARK, $300 from the Bearcat Bookstore and an applied research grant of $3,399.

The grant allows the committee to give away about 15,000 cloth shopping bags to students faculty and staff during the 2009-'10 academic year. The "Reduce Your Paw Print" slogan is printed on the Bearcat-green bags along with the University's sustainability Web site address.

Last fall, all students living in Northwest residence halls received one of the bags as part of their welcome-to-college gift package from ARAMARK. Another 750 bags were distributed to faculty and staff at the opening meeting.

For more information about the shopping bag program and other recycling and sustainability efforts at Northwest, go to http://www.nwmissouri.edu/services/sustainability/index.htm.


For more information, please contact:

Mark Hornickel, Media Relations Specialist
mhorn@nwmissouri.edu | 660.562.1704 | Fax: 660.562.1900

Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468