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EcoCoin Program Expanding To 19 Commonwealth Campuses

Shoppers frequenting Market East or the HUB’s Barnes and Noble bookstore are used to declining the plastic bag, receiving a wooden token, and depositing it into one of several boxes on the counter.

This coin is basically symbolic of a nickel, or what the store would be spending on the plastic bag that patrons choose not to use. After receiving the coin, shoppers can choose to donate their sustainable token to one of several student philanthropy organizations, such as the Class Gift Campaign, by placing it in a labeled box by the register. Each of these organizations are student groups that have demonstrated support for sustainability on campus.

Senior Sam Anawalt developed the EcoCoin system last summer, and piloted the program in the campus bookstore. His initiative was successful and quickly spread to Market East last fall.

Now it’s bringing its philanthropic sustainability mission to statewide network.

Almost 200,000 plastic bags were distributed to Market East patrons alone in 2017. The EcoCoin initiative generated $2,129.60 in donations to the three organizations it supported through 2018, and had already reduced plastic bag usage at the bookstore by more than 4,000 bags by September. Because of its success, 19 commonwealth campus bookstores are adopting EcoCoin for a total of 22 total participating retail locations.

This expansion will supposedly guarantee 25 student organization a minimum of $4,500 per year.

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About the Author

Riley Davies

Riley is a sophomore studying Public Relations from Orange County, CA. You understandably may be questioning why she is at Penn State and to be quite frank, so is she. She loves dogs, Creamery lemonade, and going to Trader Joe's. You can reach her at [email protected] or follow her on twitter @rileyydavies for retweets of dogs.

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