Â By Anna EtraAt the end of every summer there is one thing that I look forward to: shopping for new school supplies. Itâs not just that there is one more shopping opportunity when I can feel the joy of using something new, but I get to coordinate and arrange everything for the next year. I love buying new notebooks, three-ring binders, and pencil cases and organizing it all to be flawless for the first day of school. Like the majority of high school students all over the country, I toss aside the half-used spiral notebooks in place of the newest in five star school supply technology.
Supply stores such as Staples and Office Depot thrive on the back-to-school rush every August and spend time and money advertising the new supplies in stock. Some families head to stores that are known to be cheaper such as Costco, Target or Wal-Mart to stock up for the new year.
No matter where you shop, it is still a waste of material. Back-to-school shopping is expected to reach over $18.4 billion this year in the United States according to the National Retail Federation, seven percent more than last year.
A solution to all these costs is simply to reuse. Good quality backpacks should last for at least a couple of years. It is rare that a pencil is ever sharpened all the way down to the eraser and pens are infrequently used enough to run completely out of ink.
To be fair, some possessions do get misplaced, and supplies do break, but the excess bought in the previous years should really make it possible to go one year without buying completely new supplies. Mechanical pencils were invented to be refilled infinitely.
In a generation where it is trendy to be pro-environment, and hybrid cars are littered across high school parking lots, you would think that students would look for practical ways to avoid adding to the waste they are already producing. Garbage cans are filled with usable spiral notebooks, intact binders and reams of empty college-ruled paper. Unfortunately, not all of the exhausted materials are disposed of correctly. Look around any classroom on campus one week into the school year and I can guarantee there will be a blend of misplaced school paraphernalia.
Students produce 28 pounds of waste each year, according to greenliving.com.
Marketed to the people of the “Green Era,” companies are producing environmentally friendly school materials.
Ellie Pooh, a company based in Sri Lanka, produces notepads, journals and paper made from 75 percent post consumer waste and 25 percent elephant dung. Earthpak makes backpacks from recycled plastic bottles. Basura Bags sells messenger bags made from used juice containers.
Eco-friendly supplies are available at local retailers for an affordable price.
Think again before you equip yourself with all new school gear; itâs just not that necessary.