If you’re looking for a small step to make a big difference, making your children’s homework carbon-neutral is easy and, over the course of your children’s education, will make a huge difference. With a few easy changes, you can make your child’s (or your own) homework eco-friendly.
For starters, use recycled paper. Recycled paper uses 64% less energy to produce, and it prevents additional trees from being harvested for the sake of paper. Once the assignments are graded and returned, don’t throw them in the trash. You can save the best ones, especially the one that has five stars and a smiley face on it for a job well done, but the majority of old assignments and homework should go into the recycling bin. By keeping paper out of the trash, you can reduce the amount of paper in landfills. Paper comprises about 35% of everything that goes into a landfill.
Install eco-friendly ink in your printer. These inks are sustainably made, free of harmful chemicals, and can safely go into a compost pile without worry. These inks are available online and at some home office stores. The cost is relatively the same as traditional ink, but costs a fraction of the price when you consider the environmental benefits.
When you run low on ink, don’t throw the cartridge in the garbage. Ink cartridges take more than 10,000 years to decompose. It’s estimated that the average student uses three to 10 cartridges each year depending on the level of education. Of course, a college student will write more essays that are longer than a first-grader, and that can lead to unnecessary cartridges in our landfills. Recycle them (any home office store will take them) or reuse them.
Invest in an eco-friendly printer and an energy-efficient computer. Both of these purchases will save you money in your energy bill and reduce your household carbon footprint. These products are available either online or at a local retailer, and can save hundreds of dollars over the lifetime of the electronic, not to mention your impact on the environment.
Establish a routine with your children to finish homework as soon as they get home from school. That way children can study and work while natural daylight keeps the room lit. If they wait until nighttime to do their homework, they’ll need to turn lights on, requiring more energy. Also, studies have shown that children who complete their homework when it’s light outside finish about 30% quicker than children who complete their work at night with artificial lighting.
Finally, encourage your child to study green topics. If they can choose the topic of an essay or are given an assignment that asks them to research something (whether it’s a potential career, industry, or anything else), encourage them to choose green topics. Their education will be supplemented with green lessons that will last a lifetime.