Photo by Heather Elias
This last week, my children returned to school. I was careful to re-use as many items that I had and only buy what I needed opting for items that I could recycle at the end of their lives. I had it with the typical plastic coated binder that ended up in the trash heap at the end of the school year.
I even went so far as to call out Avery Dennison,and ask them to start a take back program for their binders. (P.S. Despite my numerous emails and phone calls to my public relations contact at the Company, I have yet to receive a return phone call. I guess they just expect me to go away. For a Company like Avery who is engaging in so many sustainable efforts, they get an F in my book for public relations.)
I refused to buy new pens and pencils since we had enough to give to everyone in the town. Have you ever realized how many pencils and pens you own? They are like rabbits. Before you know it, you acquire a dozen new pens and pencils, and you have no idea where they came from. In addition, we must have 10 packages of mismatched color pencils. I take a few from each to form a set of color pencils.
My children have gotten used to using 1/2 used composition notebooks and dividers that can be reused year after year until they fall apart. As I said in a previous back to school post, there is virtue in shopping in your drawers. There just is no need to constant buy new.
When I asked my neighborhood Staples how sales were going this year with the economy, the saleswoman told me that this year has been one of their best back to school years. Who would have figured with the economy the way it is? Perhaps this is due to more children moving into the area or more kids entering the school systems? Whatever the reason, I bet most people did not need to buy all new school supplies.
Some of the blame is on the schools who create these lists. Do my children really need a separate binder for each subject? When I went to school, I had one binder for all my subjects. One teacher wanted a red notebook, so I was forced to buy a plastic one. (I buy TerraCycle cardboard notebooks that are plain colored.)
And what about the package that comes before school starts? A tons of papers that I really don’t need. The first month’s food options, a diagram of the layout of all the classes, yearly calendar, and other items that are on the schools’ website. Then there are all those forms that have to be filled out. Why can’t they just have me fill them out online. My handwriting stinks at this point in my life. I would prefer to type everything. Everyone is going the digital route. Why can’t schools? Does anyone’s school have you complete forms online? If so, does anyone know the software used?
Don’t get me wrong. Some of the paper may need to come home due to legal reason which I am not aware of, but the vast majority of them I don’t need. Point me to the website, rather bombard me with a load of paper.
With all these schools screaming about their budgets, it seems to me that they literally can’t see the forest from the trees. Perhaps if they were judicious with how much paper they send out, they could save a few bucks by being green.
Buying back to school supplies and being inundated with school paperwork are just a mere snapshot of our disregard to conserve our resources. Readers, I am giving you the space to vent now. What are some the lack of conservation issues that irks you?
This article is part of the Green Mom Carnival being hosted by Mindful Momma regarding conservation. With a diverse group of greenies, you will surely get your fill of how to appreciate Earth’s abundance.