Plastic bag drive benefits food pantry

Spring 2012 –

Plastic bags have become enemy number one in the fight to reduce, reuse, and recycle. Nevertheless the Heritage Commons Community Council saw a way to employ these environmental troublemakers to help out needy Oxford residents.

From Mar. 19-23, around 500 plastic bags were collected in a plastic bag drive at the Heritage Commons apartments, which are located on Miami’s campus between the Recreational Center and Chestnut Street. Those bags will be donated to the Oxford Food Pantry so they can be reused by their shoppers.

“Most people only think to donate nonperishable food to the pantry,” explains Community Council member Charlotte Freeman, who volunteers at the pantry. “But once the shoppers pick out their items they need a bag to put them in.”

Freeman said she has wanted to hold a plastic bag drive for a while, but was not sure how many residents would participate in the drive. She was also concerned that the bags students donated would be too worn with holes to be of use to the pantry.

Fortunately, both her worries went unfounded.

“This is the best response we have had to any event we have planned all year!” Freeman exclaimed starring at the giant boxes full of the collected bags. Almost all of them were in good condition.

Heritage Commons resident Erin Semple said she enjoyed the drive because it provided her with a way to sustainably get rid of her plastic bags.

“I think it’s great because I never know what to do with my plastic bags,” Semple said.  “Donating them is a much better option than just throwing them away.”

Freeman said because the plastic bag drive had such a positive response, the Community Council will consider organizing more drives in the future.

“I’m really excited we were able to do something for the community and the environment at the same time,” Freeman said with a smile. “I think the food pantry staff will be really happy when they see all these bags.”


By: Bridget Vis

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