September 11, 2009


McMaster to ban plastic bags on campus

Hamilton, Ont. September 11, 2009McMaster University has become one of the first campuses in Canada to ban the widespread use of plastic bags. 

Over the course of the next several months, nearly 150,000 plastic bags will be phased-out, resulting in an outright ban by January. 

“Canadians send billions of plastic bags to the landfill every year,” says Kate Whalen, manager of University sustainability. “As part of the growing effort to minimize our impact on the natural environment, McMaster can help keep those materials to a minimum.”

This week, the McMaster Students Union is distributing more than 9,000 reusable cloth bags—filled with freebies and information on campus resources—to incoming students rather than one-time use plastic bags.

As the rush for textbooks takes hold, Titles Bookstore will have more than 20,000 free biodegradable tote bags on hand for customers who spend more than $25. Using reusable bags at Titles last year led to a 75 per cent decline in plastic bag usage, and while plastic bags are still available to buy, they are biodegradable.  That measure alone will divert approximately 120,000 plastic bags from the landfill.

“This initiative is very important to the University’s overall goals for maintained sustainability, which recognizes the importance of social, ecological and economic health issues,” says Whalen.  “We are working hard to preserve our natural resources for future generations and to be one of the most sustainable campuses in the country.”

McMaster University, one of four Canadian universities listed among the Top 100 universities in the world, is renowned for its innovation in both learning and discovery. It has a student population of 23,000, and more than 140,000 alumni in 128 countries.



For more information please contact:


Jane Christmas

Public Relations Manager

McMaster University

905-525-9140, ext. 27988

Michelle Donovan

Public Relations Manager: Broadcast Media

McMaster University

905-525-9140 ext 22869