3 Tips for Teachers to Go Green

recycledAs a teacher, you don’t have to change everything that you already do to create a more green classroom. Here are three quick tips for creating a more green environment without a lot of hassle.

1. Stop encouraging your students to buy everything new. Just because it’s a new year doesn’t mean that they have to throw out all of their old pencils, pens and supplies and get brand new ones. Help them to go through their already existing supplies and to see what they really need. Then, only purchase the things that they absolutely need to have.

2. Try to become more tech savvy. Rather than putting everything on paper for your students and leaving it on their school chairs, try to start using email more. Use email for notices that you need to tell the students about, for homework assignments and for classroom projects. This will save a great deal of trees and will really make a difference. Encourage students to email back their homework to you.

3. Buy recycled paper and keep it in the classroom. When you absolutely must use paper and must have your students do so, you can at least use recycled paper. Encourage the school to get involved in this way and to buy recycled paper for everyone.

Schools Implement Green Living Programs

Sustainable Living

Sustainable Living is a Valuable Asset

Schools and other educational institutes are beginning to invest more time and effort in green living and recycling. Harvard Law, for example, launched its Green Living Program seven years ago in an effort to promote sustainable living in the college dorms. The program educates the residents about energy and water conservation, as well as recycling and waste reduction, while representatives also suggest infrastructure and policy adjustments that can improve conservation.

Other programs have been launched across the U.S. as well, including those which recycle old school furniture. New additions to schools often incorporate recycled materials, while classes and school policies help educate students about their own impact on the environment, and ways they too can contribute to and preserve our planet.


Encouraging a Green Focus at School

Recycling at School

Recycling at School

Being environmentally conscious isn’t only for the hippies anymore. Every day the choices that we make can have a large impact on the environment and on our footprint in the world we live in. While we may be doing our own part, it’s possible that our schools aren’t doing theirs. Here are a few ways to help our schools to start to care more about the environment.

You can start by talking to the school principal, the district and the individual teachers about the importance of going green. They may not realize that this is even an issue, and if  you give them concrete, easy suggestions for making a difference, they may be interested in implementing them.

One of the easiest suggestions is to cut down on paper use. Rather than Xeroxing notes for the kids to bring home, copying worksheets in school and relying so heavily on paper, schools can turn to the technology in front of them. There is no reason that a teacher can’t email the entire class with a reminder, or even with a homework assignment. Today, there are all sorts of options for teachers to communicate with their students via chat rooms, classroom computer centers and more. They can significantly cut down on their paper use in this way. If each child has a computer table and a computer and knows how to be part of the community, they will get their notices, homework assignments and even tests online.

The entire school can start a recycling program. Recycling together is fun and incredibly easy. Next to the cafeteria tables and the classroom chairs, they can put out bins for recycling and the students can recycle their water bottles from lunch, other bottles that they see around the school, paper and any other items that their county recycles. They can even create a recycling competition, whereby one class receives a reward each month (for instance) if they are the ones with the most recycling.

All of these ideas can help a school to be more environmentally conscious and to help the students to learn about recycling and green living.


The Funding Factory Helps Schools and Churches Raise the Money They Need

As recycling gains momentum in the United States, more and more organizations are taking advantage of the trend and creating opportunities to raise money for their institution’s many needs. One innovative company, Clover Technologies, has instituted a program called Funding Factory. Clover is the largest remanufacturer and recycler of consumer imaging supplies, such as inkjet and toner cartridges, in the world. By recycling not only cartridges, but also cell phones, MP3 players, digital cameras and other devices, Funding Factory can help schools and churches raise the money to purchase the things they need, such as church furniture or podiums.

Watch the following video to see how one church and its affiliate school joined together with Funding Factory and raised $22,000 over the past 12 years simply by recycling.

School Furniture to Protect Our Planet

Innovative Furniture Ideas Can Protect the Environment

Innovative Furniture Ideas Can Help Protect the Environment

As technology develops, parents and school districts are becoming more involved in environmental efforts. Preserving our planet for future generations is undeniably important, and green living and recycling efforts have more immediate effects as well, including cleaner, healthier learning environments.

According to GreenSeal.org, “green schools have a considerable impact on improving student health, the environment, student and teacher performance and decreasing operating costs.” The organization goes on to explain that shifting product and service purchases to be more environmentally friendly is a good place to start.

For example, certain paints, stains and finishes are created to meet environmental requirements without compromising performance. School desks and chairs can be colored with these products, which have limited levels of VOC (volatile organic compound) to minimize indoor and outdoor air pollution. Toxic chemicals commonly found in paints and stains, including benzene, formaldehyde and heavy metals, are forbidden. Green paints are also contained in packaging made from recycled materials.


Green Does Not Refer to Just the Color of the Furniture!

Green Furniture

Lawn Furniture Made of Recycled Materials

It is possible for any type of furniture, whether it is school lockers, cafeteria tables or any other variation of the furniture we all use every day, to be eco-friendly. Here are some useful tips on how to join in the growing move towards reducing waste, saving resources, and thereby protecting our environment.

Tip One: Consider purchasing furniture made of recycled materials, such as plastic or metal, rather than wood. There is a move among environmentalists to switch to metal and plastic furniture for several reasons. Recycled materials need less processing, and use less resources. Check if the furniture you are thinking about buying can be repaired easily to help it last longer. Also, when the item does come to the end of its useful life, can it be dis-assembled easily for another bout of recycling?

Tip Two: Rattan is the “New Wood.” Wicker furniture comes from a type of palm tree that looks more like a vine than a tree, called ‘rattan.’ It is easier to harvest rattan than wood, and easier to transport. The tools needed to harvest it are also simpler. Rattan also grows more quickly than almost all other tropical wood. Rattan is lightweight, extremely durable, stands up to all kinds of weather, and it’s quite flexible. Therefore, consider rattan furniture as an alternative to wood.

Tip Three: Bamboo is another material which can be a good alternative to wood. A type of a grass, bamboo can come in many colors and sizes. It is strong and grows fast, and is a generally versatile material. It is basically the ‘poster plant’ for green construction materials, bring used in all sorts of creations, from floors to clothing, and even in building construction. One thing to be careful about when purchasing bamboo furniture: most bamboo is grown in China where pesticide use is common. Before you purchase, ask your retailer about this issue.

One last tip: Buying traditional strong wooden furniture that is made to last many years, perhaps several lifetimes, can also be environmentally friendly if it only disrupts the environment once and then is handed down for generations.

Whatever you choose, enjoy your furniture!