Though interrupted by pandemic, plastic ban off to good start

AUS Sustainability EcoReps at a bottle giveaway in SBA earlier this year (COURTESY PHOTO)

By Tuqa Al Ayoubi

UNIVERSITY CITY, SHARJAH – While the Covid-19 pandemic closed the American University of Sharjah soon after its ban on single-use plastics was underway, AUS Sustainability’s efforts still resulted in positive steps toward making the campus more environmentally friendly.

AUS announced in Fall 2019 it would ban single-use plastic beginning in January. 

According to Head of Sustainability Rose Armour, interviewed recently, her department worked with all vendors on campus last fall to change to more sustainable products. These included reducing single-use plastic use and sales, but also in charging for plastic bags. 

At the same time, her office worked to educate students, faculty and staff about the need to adjust behavior and consumption, efforts that included distributing refillable flasks and reusable bags.

While campus closed in mid-March, according to Armour early results showed a difference in people’s behavior. Many students used the refillable bottles, she noted, while customers would realize they didn’t need a plastic bag for every purchase, or provided their own shopping bags, resulting in a reduction in the use of plastic ones.