Xcetera is the University of Oklahoma’s campus convenience store – a place where students can get their daily sweet-tooth satisfied, pick up necessities and stock their dorm refrigerators. Recently, they’ve implemented a reward program designed to give environmentally-conscious students a break on groceries – something most college students can definitely use – involving reusable bags.
How it Works
When students shop at Xcetera, they’re encouraged to use their ‘Crimson and Green’ Xcetera reusable bags rather than opting for the plastic grocery bags on hand at the store. Each time a student uses the bag, he or she receives stamps on a card provided by the store. As these stamps add up quickly (visiting the store is a daily thing for many students), the students receive free merchandise like fountain drinks, and are entered into a drawing where they can win free prizes.
Now, the students will receive credit with the stamps toward free merchandise from the store. It’s an incentive to remember the reusable bags rather than use the plastic bags. During the process of producing plastic bags, petroleum and natural gas are used. They’re both non-renewable resources and increase our dependency on foreign suppliers. In addition, plastic bags can take a thousand years to degrade in a landfill and lead to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of sea turtles, whales and other marine mammals each year, who mistake the bags as food. The University of Oklahoma’s program may not single-handedly stop this, but they are setting a great example for other universities and for stores nationwide.
Not only can students save money by earning free items from Xcetera, but the store benefits as well. It saves money by not having to order as many plastic bags, and if this were accomplished by more universities, more money would be saved. On an even larger scale, should more and more shops and stores implement programs like Xcetera’s, it would send a message to the manufacturers of these plastic bags.
This is not the first eco-conscious initiative the University of Oklahoma is known for. The school features on-campus recycling centers as well as hydration stations, and students who visit the campus restaurants are asked to utilize paper and plastic goods only when necessary. As college-age students are introduced more and more to decisions that are good for the environment, as well as the negative impact that occurs when they don’t make environmentally-conscious decisions, it stands to reason that it will affect the planet in a dramatic way. Good for you, OU!
By Samantha Cummings
Photo Credit: OUDaily.com