Bagless NU is a collaboration between two Northwestern University student organizations; the Roosevelt Institute Center for Energy and the Environment and Environmental Campus Outreach. The goal of Bagless NU is to work towards reducing and eventually eliminating the use of plastic bags and other single-use items on the Northwestern University campus. Beyond Northwestern, Bagless NU hopes to work with the Evanston community to increase awareness surrounding the impacts of plastic bags and single-use items.

We are a non-partisan organization and our mission is to work with different groups in the community in order to most effectively achieve our goal of decreasing the use of single-use items. Bagless NU hopes to spend more time on campus and in the community, listening to different groups in order to best assist in moving towards a more environmentally friendly and sustainable university and city.
The continual production of billions of plastic bags puts an undue strain on the global environment. Even though most lobbyists for plastic bag manufacturers contest that plastic bag debris accounts for less than one-percent of all global pollution, There are disputes about the effects of plastic bags, however, studies have shown that discarded plastic bags still have a devastating impact on marine life, the atmosphere, and global terrain.

Plastic bags from landfills find their way into waterways and oceans. This stray pollution often ends up in the stomachs of marine birds and animals, including several endangered species, such as the Black-footed Albatross. Unable to digest this non-biodegradable material, these animals ultimately die.  Moreover, plastic bags can coalesce into larger forms of debris, as evidenced by the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, an island-sized mass of litter that has formed in the Northern Pacific Ocean. Therefore, in an attempt to prevent the further destruction of our ecosystem and the continual use of petroleum to fuel our plastic consumption, it is imperative to decrease America’s dependence on plastic bags as a means of packaging material goods.

Paper and plastic shopping bags have become staples of our consumer society but have taken a huge toll on the environment.

Facts about Plastic Bags

  • Production of plastic bags consumes 12 million barrels of oil every year
  • Production of paper bags uses 14 million trees, requires an enormous amount of energy, and the chemicals used to make the paper pollute the land, air, and water
  • Marine animals are often killed by plastic bags because they are suffocated by them or mistake them as food and try to eat them
  • Norris Bookstore gives out 90,000 plastic bags a year
  • There are 46,000 pieces of plastic litter floating in every square mile of ocean.
  • 500 billion plastic bags are used every year.

The goal of Bagless NU is to free our society from this unnecessary waste of resources one step at a time, starting right here on our campus. Look out for events and more in the coming weeks as we begin moving forward with this campaign!

For all the latest updates, be sure to follow us on twitter @BaglessNU or “like” us on facebook. Any questions or comments can be sent to baglessnu@gmail.com.


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