Amy Potthast served as Idealist’s Director of Service and Graduate Education Programs until 2011. Read more of her work at amypotthast.com.
From Pink Sherbet Photography (Creative Commons)
Back-to-school time can bring on a flurry of spending, from kindergartners’ crayons to college textbooks. Several campaigns are underway to help you be a green consumer as you shop for supplies and begin your new routine.
Be a “Back-to-Cool” Consumer with ClimateCounts.org
If you’ve ever wanted to compare companies easily so you can vote for climate-friendly products with your dollars, you’re in luck. Climate Counts is a nonprofit that scores companies on their environmental practices and impact. So far they’ve scored 140 companies (from airlines and hotels to media and pharmaceuticals). By searching the site’s scorecards you can see the scores for several companies in each category, and whether they are “striding,” “starting,” or “stuck.” You can also quickly send companies a message to let them know that climate change is important to you as a consumer.
Climate Counts’ Back-to-Cool Campaign is examining back-to-school advertising across a number of categories (apparel, food products, internet/software, electronics), and educating consumers about how they can express their values to companies making these products.
Chegg Textbook Rental and Re-sale
Chegg—that name is a combination of “chicken” and “egg”—is a company that rents college textbooks, and plants a tree each for each student who rents. Chegg also allows you to resell your textbooks, putting cash in your pocket while diverting your books from the landfill and saving trees.
In my day we borrowed textbooks from the library, but in case that’s not possible where you are, Chegg might be a brilliant alternative.
Teens Turning Green and Project Green Dorm
Teens Turning Green is a network of young people who actively seek a greener way of life. They’re running Project Green Dorm, a campaign that offers on-campus students a no-frills guide to establishing and sustaining a green lifestyle at school: Buy antique and/or vintage furniture instead of newly manufactured stuff; steer towards organic and natural-fiber linens for your bed; and don’t forget to create a recycle bin! The Project’s tips range from using energy-efficient lightbulbs in your study area to carrying the “e-gadgets” with the best carbon footprint.
What are your tips for greening your school year?
[This blog entry appeared on an older version of Idealist; any broken links are a result of having re-launched our site in Fall 2010.]