A Day Without a Bag | Spotlight

‘A Day Without a Bag’ at Cal State L.A. aims for a greener 2012

Picture of a group of youngsters at the youth training summit.
Local students display t-shirt tote bags they made during “A Day Without a Bag” Youth Leadership Training Summit at Cal State L.A.

With the new year comes the opportunity for new aspirations and renewed focus.

The Students United for Sustainability (SUS) at Cal State L.A. hopes that members of the campus community will commit to being more eco-friendly in 2012 and discontinue the use of plastic bags.

The SUS club, represented by CSULA political science major Kristina Davtyan, recently collaborated with Heal the Bay and CSULA’s Office for Community Engagement to educate about the environmental impact of plastic bags and to encourage young shoppers to choose reusable totes for carrying purchases.

The three groups co-hosted “A Day Without a Bag” Youth Leadership Training Summit on Dec. 3 at the University-Student Union Plaza on campus, which was attended by students of varying ages from the surrounding communities.

“As cities throughout L.A. County consider a single-use bag ban, retailers and consumer enter a time of transition,” said Davtyan, who is also council co-chair of the California Student Sustainability Coalition. “Now more than ever, the need for grassroots campaigns like Heal the Bay’s ‘A Day Without a Bag’ is crucial in facilitating that transition.”

Heal the Bay’s “A Day Without a Bag” is a public awareness campaign about the economic and ecological benefits of reusable bags aimed at Los Angeles County residents, who use more than six billion disposable plastic shopping bags each year.

Heal the Bay is a non-profit environmental group focused on making Southern California coastal waters and watersheds, including Santa Monica Bay, safe, healthy and clean.

The summit featured workshops on “The Impact of Plastic in Marine Environments and the Los Angeles Community,” “Strategies to Achieve a Bag-free Community,” “Alternatives to Plastic Bags,” and “Environmental-Sustainability Advocacy.”

The highlight of the event, as shared by some students from Camino Nuevo Charter Academy in Los Angeles, was the hands-on craft project, where they transformed t-shirts into “fun” reusable bags.

Davytan noted, “Through this training, these bright young individuals can now help their communities break the plastic habit and switch to reusable totes.”

According to Heal the Bay, “California municipalities spend nearly $25 million each year just to collect and dispose of plastic bag waste. Less than five percent of plastic grocery bags are recycled annually in Los Angeles, so the remainder clogs landfills, litter public spaces and harm animal life when the bags infiltrate waterways.”

It is estimated that 60 to 80 percent of all marine debris is plastic, and that marine debris has injured or killed members of at least 267 species worldwide.

In order to promote a greener future, Heal the Bay organizers also call for increase usage of heavy-duty reusable totes, which they indicate are “convenient, environmentally-friendly alternatives that have been embraced by millions around the world.”

“‘A Day Without a Bag’ event successfully contributed to Cal State L.A.’s community engagement mission by facilitating meaningful and engaging curricular activities for local elementary and high school students,” said Alexandra Gonzales, education consultant for CSULA’s Office of Community Engagement. “These collaborative efforts from the University and local community members of all ages helped to promote environmental sustainability and it’s positive impact in our society. This alliance also supports our commitment to developing mutual partnerships within our own community.”

Browse here for more photos from the Dec. 3 campus event:

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