WVU: Sign the Break Free From Plastic Pledge!

WVU: Sign the Break Free From Plastic Pledge!

February 2, 2021
Petition to
President Gordon E. Gee
Signatures: 1,160Next Goal: 1,500
Support now

Why this petition matters

Started by WVU Student Sierra Club


We, the students, staff, faculty, and alumni of West Virginia University, call on President Gordon E. Gee to make the permanent switch from single-use plastics (SUP) to sustainable alternatives. By switching from SUPs, WVU will make clear its priority to protect our community’s present and future health and wellbeing, as well as our natural spaces. 

By signing this pledge, we recognize the following to be true:

  • While individual actions to reduce the use of SUPs- like purchasing a reusable container- are important, systemic and institutional change is necessary to achieve true, lasting solutions to the plastic pollution crisis.
  • Plastic is made of fossil fuels, which fuel climate change at every stage of the life cycle from extraction to refinement to transportation to use and disposal.
  • The negative environmental effects of plastic production disproportionately affect different populations, particularly Black, Brown, Indigenous, poor, immigrant, and disabled communities in the U.S. and populations in the global south that are forced to accept our plastic waste.
  • Chemicals found in plastics have documented causality to an array of health impacts, including cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, auto-immune conditions, neuro-degenerative diseases, and stroke (1).
  • Recycling is a false solution; only 9% of all the plastic waste ever produced has been recycled (2). Other false solutions include incineration and waste-to-energy.
  • The solution to the plastic pollution crisis has to be reducing the production and use of plastics, and shifting the narrative away from single-use items in general.

Educational institutions play a key role in developing responsible citizens who will take the lead in bringing about the systems change necessary to end plastic pollution. Educational institutions are made to prepare young people for the future. We petition West Virginia University to support systems that are sustainable and ensure that these systems do not put that very future in jeopardy.

A commitment to the switch from single-use plastics should include:

  • The implementation of a large-scale compost system, including associated infrastructure and labor, that can accept compostable containers from dining facilities
  • The elimination of Styrofoam and plastic dining containers
    Investment in reusable container programs and related infrastructure, such as water bottle filling stations
  • A comprehensive procurement policy, including addendums to contracts for food, beverage, and supply purchasing regarding the use of alternative packaging
  • Support for necessary education around waste reduction and management, including during orientation for new students
  • Continued support for the Sustainability Office, Faculty Sustainability Committee, Student Government Association, and student groups committed to carrying out and supporting this transition

As students who are looking to a future that undoubtedly includes massive shifts as a result of climate change, we want to see the university we attend put our best interest first. We believe that at our University, where we commune to establish our futures, that our future be valued over convenience. We call on West Virginia University to “go first” and be a leader in protecting our Wild and Wonderful state and the people who inhabit it.

(1) https://www.ciel.org/project-update/plastic-and-human-health-a-lifecycle-approach-to-plastic-pollution/#:~:text=Microplastics%20entering%20the%20human%20body,outcomes%20including%20cancer%2C%20cardiovascular%20diseases%2C

(2) https://www.unep.org/interactive/beat-plastic-pollution/

Support now
Signatures: 1,160Next Goal: 1,500
Support now

Decision Makers

  • President Gordon E. Gee