Heading Back to University!

August 25th, 2011 | Posted by tjones in Environment | Green Products

My own educational adventures have been long.  I earned my B.A. from Oberlin College in 2007, and then went back to school at Columbia University for my M.A. for 2009 – 2010.  After a year off, I’m heading off for a Ph.D program in environmental anthropology at the end of the month.

Between frantically preparing for my move and ensuring that I am properly enrolled and registered for new courses, I’ve had to think through what I’ll need for the upcoming year, and how I can source what I need ethically and in an environmentally-responsible way.

So, below, here are some of the ideas I’ve come up with by perusing the Green Depot website.  I hope this comes in handy for anyone getting ready to head back to school – whether for elementary school, high school, college, or grad school.


TerraCycle Straw Paper: Roughly four billion trees are felled every year for the production of printer paper, which poses a significant threat to the environment and a massive contribution to climate change.  This paper is instead made from straw – the kind used for animal bedding as a byproduct of straw production – and is a much more sustainable material for paper-making than wood.  This paper is fully compatible with laser printers, ink jet printers, and copy machines.

Hero Bags Pig Lunch Sack: Cute!  These lunch bags are made from organic cotton, has a handy cotton carrying strap, and a stylish silk screen “butchery artwork” design of a happy pig.  The bag stands upright with a flat bottom, and it is large enough to hold a large sandwich, a tall beverage, and multiple snacks.  It is machine washable, and should be line-dried.

Ecosystem Flexicover Journals: The journals are excellent for expressing your thoughts or taking notes in class.  They are made of 100% post-consumer recycled paper (the best kind of recycled paper you can purchase) and contain 192 smooth, bright-white eco-friendly pages.  The books come with a back pocket on the inside cover, an organic cotton bookmark, perforated pages, and an elastic enclosure.  Plus, there is an ID number in the back of every book that allows you to track where parts of the journal were made via ecosystem’s website, and resources for learning where to recycle them.

Design Ideas Recycled Newspaper Pencils: A truly ingenious idea, these pencils are made entirely from recycled newspapers that are wound tightly around a no. 2 pencil lead.  Design Ideas ads an adhesive, presses them into a barrel shape, and the pencil turns out to be just as strong as a standard one constructed from wood.  Newsprint images from an English edition Chinese newspaper are visible on the barrel surface, and these can be sharpened just as you would a regular pencil.  They come in a set of twelve.

Decomposition Books: As straightforward as they are classic, these “decomposition books” are constructed from 100% post-consumer waste recycled paper.  They are made with bio gas derived energy, and feature several aesthetically-appealing designs.  They’re college ruled with 80 sheets per book, at 7.5″ x 9.75″ and produced in the United States.  At $4.95, they’re a great bargain for a green back-to-school product.

Solar Backpack: A truly remarkable item. the Solar Back Pack was designed specifically to efficiently charge virtually all handheld electronic devices via built-in solar panels and a battery.  The bag itself is built from a sturdy recycled PET fabric (that usually comes from soda bottles) and has a spacious main compartment with four interior pockets, plus space for glasses, a laptop, and a front pocket for holding charging devices.  A universal USB battery stores power for anytime use, indoors or outdoors, sunny or cloudy, and can be charged even when sun is not readily available.  When the sun is out, the solar panels go to work and charge the USB battery themselves.  The battery can be fully charged from 7 hours of contact with direct sun, or 5.5 hours from a USB port or optional DC or AC.  It’s even capable of charging a smart phone with just 4 hours of sun.  Comes with a 2-year warranty on pack and panels, and a 1-year warranty on the battery.

For green building materials, like eco insulation, as well as many other green products for a sustainable lifestyle, visit http://www.greendepot.com.

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