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Circulent Choosday. Five tips for your more circular new school year

Every year in August, shops worldwide fill up with Back to school sales and thousands of new stationery products. Even though we need new items for the upcoming academic year, it’s not difficult to make the fresh beginning more circular.

According to EPA, 1,6 billion single-use pens are thrown out every year. Most of the components of the average pen are not recyclable and eventually end up in a landfill as waste. These statistics are similar to every stationary item – from notebooks and binders to calculators.

Speaking about notebooks and stationary paper, around 3,5 to 7 billion trees are cut yearly in order to produce virgin fibre which is used to make paper. What is more, the paper industry is responsible for more than 40 percent of industrial logging over the world. And tendencies show that this number is increasing.

Your new school year does not necessarily need to be so hurtful to the environment. With a few alterations to your school supplies shopping habits, you can prepare for a new year more environmentally friendly. Here are five tips on how to prepare for the new school year more circular:

Do an inventory of your supplies before buying more. Do you really need a new pen? Check what you still have from the previous year and buy less.

Invest in your school supplies. Most of the cheap school supplies are designed to be single-use. Buying high-quality items or ones that are made from recycled materials is a good option if you don’t want to continue throwing out old and purchasing new supplies every year.

Buy used textbooks. Why buy a brand new textbook if you can get a used one for a lower price? Nowadays, you can find multiple platforms that offer second-hand academic books, or you can always consider getting them from older students of your subject.

Moving into a dorm? Consider rebuying cutlery and other household items from its previous residents. Also, try local online market places – this way you will furnish your new place more sustainably and cheaper.

Lunch can be sustainable too! From reusable lunch bags, boxes and food wrappers made from bee wax to introducing more vegetables and fruits into your usual lunch menu. If you want to go one step further – try shopping in the market. Here you will get locally grown goods that are currently in season.

Extra tip: studying has to be sustainable for your mental health too. Don’t forget to take breaks, go for a walk in the park, spend time with your friends, and have enough time for a healthy night's sleep.

ReGeneration 2030’s Circulents project is focusing on educating youth in the Nordic and Baltic Sea region on circular economy. If you want to be a part of this working group, fill up the volunteer form.


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