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Think Green When Heading Back to School

Easy tips for an environmentally-friendly start to the school year.

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It’s August, and attention is turning back to school. As students prepare to return to their classrooms, Waste Management of New York has some environmentally friendly tips to help families reduce waste, recycle and reuse materials throughout the school year – and save money in the bargain.

• Shop smart.  Retail industry surveys indicate the average family with children in grades K-12 will spend around $688 this year on school supplies, clothing and other items, up from $603 last year. Before you head to the store, take an inventory of the school supplies you already have from last year and determine what can be used again. Once you do start shopping, make a list of what you really need before heading into the store and stick to it. Following these steps will save materials as well as dollars.

• Choose recycled. Try and purchase recycled materials whenever possible. Most school supplies are now available in environmentally friendly options, such as biodegradable pencils, refillable pens and recycled notebooks. Be sure to check your recycled school supplies for durability and minimal packaging.

• Save on books. Headed off to college? Avoid buying new textbooks if possible. If you’re looking to reduce your waste—and the total at the bottom of your receipts—consider buying or renting used textbooks this year  -- or switching to e-books. Used textbooks are often available for half off or more in campus bookstores or online. Online textbooks and textbook rentals also help cut down on the amount of new books printed each year.

• Reduce waste. Taking a brown paper bag filled with plastic bags or pre-packaged snacks to school every day adds up to a lot of trash. Invest in a reusable lunchbox, reusable plastic containers and cloth napkins. By eliminating daily wasted plastic and paper from a typical brown bag lunch, your child could avoid generating 67 pounds of trash a year.

Waste Management is the industry leader in waste and environmental solutions.  We recover the resource in waste to enhance the environment and provide environmental solutions to our customers.  To learn more, visit www.wm.com.

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