YOUR ENVIRONMENT: Recycling School Supplies

Give Pencils, Backpacks Another Life

With the 2016-2017 school year wrapping up, soon alarm clocks, schedules and homework will be forgotten for a few months as kids enjoy the summer. Taking the time to properly go through books, notes and school supplies cannot only save you some dough for next year, it can help the environment.  

Students, teachers and parents can all make a difference in reducing waste at the end of the school year by practicing waste reduction and recycling. Here are some recycling tips to remember:

  • When cleaning out your backpack or locker, think about items that can be donated or reused for summer art projects.
  • Recycle old paper and save binders and folders for reuse next school year.
  • Many schools reuse text books to save money and reduce waste. Share your used books with friends or younger siblings.
  • Save items that can be reused like refillable pens and pencils, and rechargeable batteries for next school year.
  • Help your teacher clean out the classroom to ensure items no longer of use get donated to someone who can use them and other items get recycled. 

Now, your children’s dried-out markers, empty glue sticks and other used items can have a second life with these recycling programs: 

  • Some office supply stores, offers $2 in rewards per recycled ink cartridge. Walmart has ink cartridge recycling receptacles.
  • Fill a bag with used writing utensils – pens, pencils, highlighters and Google “Writing Instruments Brigade” for a free shipping label. This initiative, which includes participation from PaperMate and Sharpie, turns old writing utensils into plastic storage bins.
  • Crayola’s ColorCycle program turns used markers into fuel for cars. Get a free shipping label to send your markers to a conversion facility.
  • Classrooms participating in Elmer’s Glue Crew can collect empty glue sticks and bottles throughout the year to send to a recycling center using free downloadable shipping labels. There, old glue holders are transformed into new products like plastic bins.

Another great option is to donate your used backpacks to charities. Heart and Hand, Mountain Mission and The Salvation Army can resell these items to help fund their social services programs.

Reuse and Recycle are great lessons to teach our children to prolong the life of products and reduce needless waste in landfills.