Sustainable Student: A Green Start to the Quarter
Published: Wednesday, April 4, 2012
Updated: Thursday, April 5, 2012 10:04
With the start of the quarter comes long lines at the bookstore as everyone rushes to get their supplies for the next 10 weeks. As teachers tack on that extra book or demand a separate journal for their class, students are left with heavy backpacks and aching wallets.
But the start of the quarter doesn’t have to be so taxing on you and the environment. Rent or buy used books to save some extra money and resources. The average tree used to make paper can only produce about 8,300 sheets of paper, or about 12 textbooks.
Every time you buy or rent a used textbook you prevent even more trees from being used. You might even get lucky and get a book that has been skillfully highlighted for you. Don’t forget to sell back your books at the end of the quarter — you might even get more than the cost of lunch out of it.
If you have an e-reader, or don’t mind reading on your computer, e-books are another great option to cut down on prices and use less resources. You don’t need a fancy e-reader for this option to work for you either — all you need is a computer and an internet connection.
Although books are the main concern at the start of the quarter, other supplies can just as easily be made more sustainable. Use recycled paper for printing and taking notes. You can also take notes on the back of used paper or on your computer to forgo paper entirely.
With all of your supplies, try to stay away from plastic. Even though it is often the cheapest option, plastic breaks easily, does not break down in landfills and leaks harmful chemicals throughout its creation, use and end of life. Look for items, especially binders and notebooks, that are made out of cardboard, wood, soy inks and other eco-friendly materials. Most paper and notebooks come in recycled paper versions.
Most importantly, reuse everything you can from last quarter and streamline your materials. If you still have pages left in your notebook or ink in your highlighter, do you really need a new one? Often school supplies that seem really useful in the store end up shoved in a drawer somewhere.
Before you buy, ask yourself if it is really necessary. Do you really need a pencil case that goes inside of a bag, inside of a bag? How many pens, pencils, markers and everything else do you really need?
Use the bare minimum instead of stuffing your bag and emptying your wallet.
Mandy Ferreira is the managing editor for The Santa Clara.