Environmental activist and student group hope to reduce UO waste

Andy Keller, an environmental activist and founder of Chico Bag, came to the University of Oregon on May 25 to give a talk on single use products.

In his speech, Keller focused on the importance of reusable products in everyday life and how detrimental single use items can be to the Earth. Keller also gave a background on the inspiration for his company. Afterward, he specifically addressed how well UO is doing and gave ways that campus can diminish waste.

“I think in the new student union some of the vendors are not lined up with the waste goals of the university,” Keller said. “It is promising to see all the things that you guys are doing already like getting compostable items.”

Keller is the inventor of the Chico Bag, a company that produces reusable bags to eliminate single use products in society. He is also the creator of the “Bag Monster”, a symbolic costume consisting of the 500 plastic bags the average American uses each year.

“Essentially the Bag monster was something I created to try and embody what I saw in the Landfill,” Keller said.

In regards to campus efforts, UO’s Climate Justice League also intends to lessen single use products. They currently have a funded campaign called “Choose To Reuse” which provides multi-use cups in cafe’s on campus, said senior and environmental science major Hannah Greenberg.

Another environmental science major, Nicole Hendrix, thinks that the “Choose To Reuse” campaign will benefit UO.

“We do have an issue with disposable coffee cups because we go through coffee like crazy,” Hendrix said. “This whole Choose reuse campaign gives people options to make the decision.”

Hendrix was also one of the key organizers involved in the Keller’s Bag Monster talk and believes that UO can continue its path to sustainability.


Taylor Perse

Taylor Perse