For every ton of paper, roughly 200,000 sheets of paper, that is recycled paper saves us from cutting down approximately 17 trees. The average school tosses 38 tons of paper each year, the equivalent of 644 trees.
When you buy notebooks and paper think green and spend a couple extra to get recycled (it’s not always more expensive).
Raise the awareness in school, perhaps you can rally others to the cause and organize a school-wide paper recycling program. And see some tips below, via Masterclass:
Verify the type of paper your recycling center accepts. Even though most places in the United States have similar rules for recycling, you should check with your local plant to confirm which paper products they accept. Some recycling centers are “single-stream,” meaning you can pile all of your recycling into one bin and the plant will sort it later; other centers are “sorted-stream,” and require you to separate your paper out from your glass and other recycling, or even sort paper by its type (e.g., old newspapers, mixed paper, office paper, etc.).
Keep it unshredded, where possible. Many people shred papers that have identifying or confidential information to prevent that information from being shared. However, shredding paper reduces the length of its fibers, thereby reducing its recyclability. In addition, some recycling centers can’t process shredded paper and instead request that you deliver it to a separate plant. Where possible, try to avoid shredding paper, instead black-out sensitive information using an ink marker. If you shred your important papers and your recycling center can’t process them, consider using your paper shredding around the house—for instance, in composting, vermiculture, or as an absorbent bed for small-animal litter.
Avoid wetting the paper. Once paper becomes wet, it’s much harder to recycle and often has to be thrown away. Keep your paper separate from other recyclable materials that may dampen the paper (such as rinsed plastic containers or used aluminum cans). Avoid getting grease on paper bags used to hold food. Additionally, try not to put your recycling bin out too early on rainy days.
Don’t worry about staples. If some of your printed materials contain staples, you may wonder if you need to pry them out before tossing the stack in the recycling. In fact, most paper recycling plants have machines that can remove staples from the paper stream, so you don’t have to remove them beforehand. However, check with your local recycling center to verify whether they remove staples.
Go paperless. While paper is an ideal candidate for recycling, most paper fibers can only be recycled up to seven times before the fibers become too weak for recirculation. That’s why the best way to conserve paper is to go paperless wherever possible. Try storing digital versions of files rather than printing out documents, from boarding passes to event tickets.
You can also offset your books.