Reduce. Reuse. Recycle… The 3 R’s for Students

Posted Mar 25th, 2015 in For Students

When the back-to-school shopping seasons rolls back around, save your stuff AND your money!

By Katlynd Poulton 

suppliesWhen heading back to school for the upcoming semester, many students drop hundreds of dollars on clothes, supplies, parking passes, you name it! Most of these purchases however, could be eliminated and save the student a bit of money. How many times have you been “Back to School” shopping? The answer is too many times. Post-secondary students spend approximately 15 weeks in class at a time, that’s barely enough time to wear out a cheap pen! In all likelihood, your “old” back to school clothing and supplies are just as good as the new ones your about to buy. Using the 3 R’s, reduce, re-use and recycle, students can eliminate most of their back to school shopping, save some cash and be more eco-friendly.


Reduce the amount you spend on supplies by keeping last semester/year’s purchases. This is turn, will reduce the amount you own… and let’s face it, who needs all of those binders, pens and packs of lined paper? Most of the stuff ends up being handed out to other classmates, lost or in the trash once the semester has concluded. By reducing your number of purchases you can also reduce the amount of trash you create, which is important for our Earth’s survival. Keeping all of your school supplies together and organized will allow you to see just how much stuff you still have left over, year to year. If you keep it all together and in good condition, it’s just like having brand new supplies, but without the hefty bill. Really… who gets excited to buy binders and white out, anyway?


Reuse your stuff! There’s likely nothing physically wrong with it anyways. Toss the worn out pens and the damaged binders, but if you’re able to salvage your supplies for another year or so, do it!!! Don’t get me wrong, it’s nice to get new things but if you don’t need it, don’t buy it! The Canadian Press reported in 2013 that the average money spent on back to school supplies per person was $428. $428!!! Since that statistic is two years old, I can only imagine what people will be spending in the fall of 2015. Making a conscious effort to purchase products made of recycled materials also makes a difference!


By recycling your back to school supplies by either handing them down, reusing them yourself or physically recycling products like paper, the plastic from pens, etc. then you’re doing a good thing for our planet. Think of the number of trees used to make lined paper and then, think about how much paper we throw up or just waste to doodle on. Energy, water and other resources are all used so that we can have all the ‘newest’ stuff, but the truth remains - we don’t really need it!

Waste Prevention World provides a list of ways you can be more eco-friendly and cost-efficient when it comes to back-to-school shopping, visit