Archived Outdoors

Go to college, help a landfill

out collegeNearly 12,000 plastic bottles will have been saved from a landfill when Western Carolina University students graduate this month. What’s the connection? More than 500 of the 700 graduates and numerous participating alumni will be wearing eco-friendly gowns they purchased at the WCU Bookstore.

The gowns are made from 100 percent post-consumer recycled plastic bottles and each one will keep an average of 23 plastic bottles out of landfills, according to the Virginia-based manufacturer, Oak Hall Cap & Gown.

Western Carolina University will hold commencement exercises at 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14, at the Ramsey Regional Activity Center to recognize its fall graduating class. 

“We realized the importance of the university’s sustainability initiative, and when we found out about this opportunity, we were thrilled to be able to participate in this effort,” said Pamela DeGraffenreid, director of Catamount Stores.

Lauren Bishop, WCU’s energy manager and chief sustainability officer, said the special gowns provide an additional opportunity for the graduating students and alumni to take pride in their accomplishments and in the university. “When they walk across the stage, they can truly be a part of the Catamount spirit to reduce our carbon paw print,” Bishop said.

For those students and alumni who wear the eco-friendly gowns and don’t want to hold onto them as a keepsake, recycling bins will be placed in the Ramsey Center and at the WCU Bookstore so the used gowns can be sent back to Oak Hall Cap & Gown for more recycling. The company works with vendors to turn the used gown fabric into other sustainable products, including down comforter material for pillows and blankets.

828.227.7216 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Leave a comment

Smokey Mountain News Logo
SUPPORT THE SMOKY MOUNTAIN NEWS AND
INDEPENDENT, AWARD-WINNING JOURNALISM
Go to top
Payment Information

/

At our inception 20 years ago, we chose to be different. Unlike other news organizations, we made the decision to provide in-depth, regional reporting free to anyone who wanted access to it. We don’t plan to change that model. Support from our readers will help us maintain and strengthen the editorial independence that is crucial to our mission to help make Western North Carolina a better place to call home. If you are able, please support The Smoky Mountain News.

The Smoky Mountain News is a wholly private corporation. Reader contributions support the journalistic mission of SMN to remain independent. Your support of SMN does not constitute a charitable donation. If you have a question about contributing to SMN, please contact us.