UND students go green

Members of the UND Energy & Environment Club collected plastic bags from community members

GRAND FORKS — It may be white outside but some University of North Dakota students are hoping to make North Dakota a little bit greener.

The students are part of an environmental club at UND and they spent the day at Memorial Union collecting plastic bags.

Members of the club said they wanted to collect the bags because they have to be specially recycled.

Tossing a regular plastic bag in your recycling bin could even jam the machines at recycling facilities.

"I don't think it's very common knowledge," said Kelly Reishus, President of UND's Energy & Environment Club. "I think there's so many rules for different recycling for so many things that it kind of gets lost in the mix."

Members of the club said they came up with the idea because they thought it'd be a simple way to make a big impact — and it has — before lunch, they'd already received hundreds of bags.

Anyone who brought in more than five plastic bags received a reusable bag, made of fabric and the chance to win a gift card.

"The trend that we've been noticing is that people will bring, normally one bag, stuffed with a whole bunch of other bags of plastic bags and they'll come up and they'll say, 'Well yeah, they were just sitting in my house, so I thought I'd bring them in,' and I'm sure everyone can related," Reishus said. "Everyone probably has a plastic bag stashed somewhere in their home."

Going forward, the club hopes to add permanent plastic drop-off bins to the Memorial Union.

All the bags students collected will be donated to a person who uses them to make sleeping mats for people who are homeless.