CalPIRG protests at local Staples

Concerned students from the California Public Interest Research Group held a demonstration at a local Staples Office Superstore last Saturday to inform the public of what they call the company’s environmentally unfriendly policies.

Lyon Liew
Guardian

CalPIRG members organized the demonstration to call on Staples to stop using wood from old-growth forests in its office-supply products and to alert consumers of what the organization deems the company’s destructive practices.

Old-growth forests provide habitat for endangered and threatened species, and the destruction of such forests is worrisome to some environmentalists because old-growth forests take centuries to form, but can be decimated relatively quickly by wood chippers.

“”We’re here to educate as many people as we can,”” said Matt McKeeley, a Revelle senior and the chapter chair at CalPIRG. “”Educating consumers is an effective way to make companies change their tactics.””

Staples spokesman Tom Nutile said that Staples is in the process of developing a policy to promote sustainable regrowth programs by giving preference to wood certified to be from such sources.

“”We believe this certification process is one of the best ways to eliminate or minimize the possibility of any old-growth fibers in Staples products,”” he said.

CalPIRG Campus Director Emily Deckman said that Staples still uses old-growth wood products that are unnecessary with the widespread availability of other, more eco-friendly sources.

“”It’s a simple step that [Staples] can take to switch from using old-growth forest wood to wood from new-growth forests,”” Deckman said.

Nutile said that Staples is a leader in environmentally friendly practices, and that the company sells more than 300 different recycled paper products in each store, and 1,000 companywide.

Nutile also said that Staples encourages consumers to buy paper brands that use recycled post-consumer fibers. He said Staples recently introduced a 50 percent post-consumer waste recycled paper, two different papers with 30 percent and a Staples brand paper with 10 percent recycled fibers.

“”In the vast majority of cases, recycled paper costs more than nonrecycled paper, and it’s harder to get the consumer to pay more,”” he said.

CalPIRG teamed up for the event with Ecopledge, an environmentally conscious group that works to change the policies of companies it considers eco-unfriendly. Ecopledge claims several successes in the past, including influencing Ford and General Motors to back out of the Global Climate Coalition, a group that it said worked to minimize the public perception of global warming.

“”Consumers don’t know what’s going on,”” said Melinda Gibson, campaign coordinator for CalPIRG. “”We’re here for consumer awareness. Staples wants to keep its customers happy and we’re definitely for that … as long as Staples improves its environmental track record.””

Nutile said that Staples shares the concerns of many environmentalist groups, and that Staples is in ongoing discussions with environmentalist groups to explore how the company can become more environmentally friendly in the current marketplace.

“”At Staples we care very much about the environment,”” Notile said. “”We consider ourselves a leader in selling environmentally friendly products in our stores, our catalog and on our Web site.””

Donate to The UCSD Guardian
$2505
$2500
Contributed
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists at University of California, San Diego. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment, keep printing our papers, and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The UCSD Guardian
$2505
$2500
Contributed
Our Goal