For over seven years, the University Book Store has been supporting campus sustainability through its plastic bag recycling program. Although standard plastic bags are banned in Seattle, the University Book Store uses bags made with a thicker plastic, which is allowed. The plastic in the book store bags is at least 2.25 mil thick (one mil is equal to one-thousandth of an inch), which allows the bags to be more easily reused and eventually recycled.
To recycle unusable bags, drop them off at the University Book Store located at 4326 University Way NE. The recycling bin is located downstairs in the textbook department and the collected bags are picked up by Seattle-area recycling vendor, Republic Services.
"Up until now, details about the store’s recycling program have been shared through word of mouth. The recycling bin fills up quickly," said Trevor Peterson, chief of operations at University Book Store.
If you happen to have standard plastic bags, they can also be recycled at the book store as long as they are bundled together within one bag. Bundling is a necessary step, as individual single-use bags can jam processing machinery within recycling facilities. (You can also recycle bundles of plastic bags in UW or City of Seattle recycling bins.)
The ubiquitous purple and white University Book Store plastic bags are not only recyclable, but sturdy and reusable. Reusing the bags as much as possible before recycling helps reduce the number of plastic bags produced.
"In the new bag design, I am going to include a line of text that stresses the message of reusing the bag until it's falling apart and then recycling it," said Peterson.