UCLA store gets new green corner
Students with an eye out for sustainability have always had options like recycled-paper notebooks at the student store. But when the demand for green products started rising, the UCLA Store began to run out of room for its expanding array of eco-friendly school supplies.
By Alison Hewitt
Originally published in UCLA Today
So store managers decided to give it a whole section.
"We were running out of room to include it," said Jan Griwach, director for computers and supplies in the UCLA Student Store in Ackerman. She and her team began stocking the green shelves the week before fall quarter began. "People ask for these things."
Shoppers can go above and beyond recycled paper, snapping up items like soy candles, mouse pads made out of recycled tires, laptop sleeves made from plastic bottles and sketch pads produced by wind-powered factories. Such previously out-there options are increasingly available, said Margo Riter, the store's essentials buyer.
"I've carried recycled products all along," Riter said. "But especially in the past six months, our vendors have come out with more, and they're making more of an effort. When it's available, I try to purchase it so our customers have a choice."
Not only does the new green corner of the student store include a greater breadth of choices, and it also gives her employees more space to test customer interest in new sustainable products, Griwach said.
About a half-dozen shelves are laden with ostensibly guilt-free products. Trying to reduce your energy output? Pick up some fluorescent lightbulbs or grab a pack of rechargeable batteries, conveniently located next to the battery rechargers.
Going organic? Try the organic cotton Bear Wear or the organic bathroom and kitchen cleaners. Going green but still seeking familiar desk supplies? Reach for the recycled paper Post-it notes, the recycled plastic pens and desk caddies, and even "banana paper" notebooks — enigmatically described on the label as a "blend of banana bunch stock fiber, injurious by product of the Banana agro-industry." Even the plain-old recycled-paper spiral notebooks have been spiffed up for the green corner: for the first time, they're UCLA-branded.
"This stuff has been scattered all over the store," Griwach said. "We knew if we consolidated it, we could make a significant statement. These products are good."
Published: Wednesday, September 24, 2008