Simple Steps to Greener Living

Earthzone estimates that somewhere around 14 billion wooden pencils head to landfills each year, which is a little like throwing away our forests.

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May 25, 2010

Think Before You Trash It

Clean your desks and lockers out
But don't throw it all away
Your used supplies and old text books
Might make somebody's day.

Reading, ‘riting, ‘rithmetic and Reusing

It's almost the end of the school-year, so before you wipe out last year's school supplies, consider the following:

  • Can your child still use it? Thousands of spiral notebooks are trashed each year, even when dozens of pages have not yet been written upon. Simply tear out the used pages, recycle and voila, your kid's got a brand new notebook to last at least part of the year, saving both money and trees!
  • Can another child use it? Maybe your son or daughter has a "thing" about getting a new box of crayons every year, but last year's unsharpened crayons still have a lot of wear. Glen Ellyn, Illinois' SCARCE (School & Community Assistance for Recycling & Composting Education) hosts a barrage of "rescue" programs for used school supplies, including Super Crayons which melts small crayon pieces together to create regular-sized crayons for children with special needs.
  • Can a teacher or school use it? Many schools in disadvantaged areas and even home schools are in great need of old books, from text books to leisure reading materials. SCARCE started the Book Rescue program to ensure that older books still in fair condition do not simply take up space in a storage room or landfill. Schools or teachers in your area may graciously accept your donation - do a little research or simply list your school's old "booty" on Craigslist!
  • Can it be recycled? Used spiral notebooks can be recycled. If you're crafty, you can even take out the spiral wire, cut it up, reshape it and use it for things like Christmas tree ornament hangers!

Natural and Sustainable has compiled a list of sustainable school supplies from beeswax crayons to staple-free staplers, perfect for next year's green student.
eHow offers some suggestions on how to reuse old school supplies around your house.
Discover some fantastic ways to make your next school-year much more eco-friendly.


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