Back-to-School Brings "Green" Tips
NEIRAD enilno edition
Fact: Darien High School uses paper. A lot of paper. Enough reams of stock to cause students to periodically complain of chronic back pain. It is also fact that once they no longer need the paper, it will most likely find its way into a landfill instead of being recycled properly, making its uselessness complete.
In an increasingly eco-conscious world people are looking for new and better ways to go green. Those who are unable to live without their own car or who forget to sort their plastic and glass bottles can still at least recycle paper.
The Eco Citizens hopes to help reduce this waste. “We are trying to get the entire student body to recycle all types of bottles and cans. Please do not throw away the bottles and cans in the garbage bins; instead recycle them in the recycling bins,” Eco-Citizens senior founder Emma Tuz said. This includes Capri-Sun collection bins found in the cafeteria, which are reused to make other products.
Tuz is also going to tackle the recurrent paper recycling issue. “In the near future we plan to discuss with the administration ways in which all paper in the school can be recycled. For now, if together we recycle all bottles, cans, and juice pouches, our recycling efforts will make a difference," she said.
The school has a small paper recycling program. People can deposit paper in the big blue vats in the copy rooms. “They fill up pretty fast,” Assistant Principal Michael Sullivan said.
Mr. Sullivan said there are also a few unofficial programs, such as teachers taking left over papers to recycle it themselves, or as simple as reusing used printouts as scrap paper.
Eco-Citizens echo Mr Sullivan’s strategy to repurpose items. "One of the big ways to save paper is to use a reusable bag at the grocery store in place of paper of plastic bags,” senior Eco-Citizen Rachel McGlade said. “Even though paper can be recycled, it still uses a lot of resources.”
Though even with the school doing private recycling programs we still end up using a huge amount of paper. DHS went through more than 1,700,000 pieces of paper in the fall 2009 semester. “We are on target to use at least what we used last year (2008-2009), which was about 3,600,000 pieces,” bursar Meg Ricci said. “We go through about 65-70 cases a month.” This data may already be outdated, as there are constantly more students arriving at DHS’ doors. The sheer number of new arrivals adds to the already obscene amount of paper used, and ultimately wasted.
The facts on the paper itself do not look much better. Darien High School must purchase high-quality grade stock to ensure the schools’ two temperamental copiers and printers do not jam. That means they cannot purchase cheaper, recycled paper.
So, if the school won’t save the world’s trees, is it looks like it is up to the students of DHS to step up. Here are a few quick tips and tricks on how go green in the new school year:
Top 5 Green Tips
- Ask for online content. If the teacher does not use paper, there is no waste. Many teachers choose not to use their school Web site, and many students choose to not check online. But what is the greater evil: murdered trees breaking your back or click, click, done?
- Choose to save paper. While it looks nice to have neat notes on a brand new sheet, it is much more efficient to draw a break on the sheet and write different notes under the previous ones. And shame on those who only use one side.
- Recycle old packets. Paper recycling plants can make wood pulp for items such as cardboard cup holders.
- Buy products made from recycled stock. As long as you are not as fitful as the copy machines, paper made with recycled material is an easy way to help Mother Earth. One great example is Sasquatch folders, notebooks and planners manufactured from recycled material.
- Why stop at paper? Truly help out the outdoors by recycling plastics, metals and bottles. Deposit these items in receptacles at supermarkets or wherever there are recycling bins available.