Recycling Readers (Michael Moran)

1.1. What

The goal of this action is to create some sort of recycling program for the Readers that are distributed to students in the majority of classes. The readers tend to be very thick, and thus use large amounts of paper. It is very wasteful to only use these readers for one semester, and then to just discard them in the trash.

Under the new system, Readers would be distributed to students with biodegradable binders. The students would have the Reader for the entire semester and at the end would be required to return the Reader, or not receive their deposit back if they are unable to do so. The binder system will allow IES professors to replace any damaged or missing pages from the Reader. These Readers can be distributed every semester and thus would save tons of paper.

Another potential option is to integrate the idea of Online Readers into this new system. I do not believe that going to strictly Online Readers is the best decision, because some teachers and students prefer having material already printed out for them. However, giving the teachers the option of either Online or Recycled Readers or having some sort of class vote at the beginning of the semester could be a good option.

Link for Binders:

1.1.1. Similar actions from previous semesters 

There were a few past projects that are very similar to my own. They too had the goal of trying to recycle readers. They also tried implementation a binder system, an idea that I am very fond of and thus am incorporating it into my action.


I learned several important things from these past projects. One of the main things I learned is that both students and professors are open to changing the current reader system. Both think that the readers are a waste and that the system can run more efficiently and eco-friendly. I also learned that it will be difficult to implement this system. The past groups attempted, but ultimately came up short of their goal. I will have to try and figure out a different route if I hope to succeed.

1.1.2. SWOT Analysis

- Saves lots of paper (Rough estimate of 150 pages, per reader)
- Saves IES money on producing new readers every semester (Previous groups calculated the total production cost to be around roughly 45-65 Euro per reader)
- Binders allow readers to be updated so they can stay current

- Lots of work to go through readers at end of semester for professors (Possible Solution: First day of classes, students go through their new Readers and pick out any pages that they do not want or are damaged. )
- Hard to find someone to run the program consistently (Possible Solution: IES Librarian could handle the duties)
- Binders could be expensive initially (Binder cost was not listed on website)
- Binders breaking throughout semester (The Binders I suggest come with a guarantee that they are 100% long lasting and durable)

- IES becomes much more eco-friendly
- Saves tons of paper
- Readers stay updated much more easily

- Students writing in readers
- Binders becoming too damaged over time

1.1.3. Feedback Loops

Balancing feedback loop

1. IES uses Readers with binders
2. Less Readers need to be produced
3. Less waste by IES
4. IES saves money in long run
5. IES keeps using binder system, finds even cheaper binder options.
6. IES uses Readers with binders

1.1.4. Advertising

There does not need to be a ton of advertising. Beginning next semester, Readers can be distributed with the binder system in place. The only thing that needs to be advertised is that students will be notified that they are required to return the readers at the end of the semesters. Students will pay a deposit at the beginning of the semester and if they fail to return their Readers, or if a Reader is returned with too much damage. As the semester comes to a close, students will again be reminded that they must return their Readers.

1.2 Why this action makes things more sustainable?

This action improves the sustainability of IES Abroad Barcelona by creating less waste for the program and saving IES money on production costs of Readers as well as having to order less paper. Reusing Readers will cut down drastically on waste since students will no longer simply discard their Readers at the end of each semester.

Long-term benefits of this system include IES saving a good amount of money. Instead of paying to create new readers and ordering all of the paper for them, IES will simply only have to pay for small amount of pages per reader and perhaps a few new binders each semester.

1.2.1. Potential Benefits

- Reduces waste in the short and long term
- Saves IES money
- Less paper consumption at IES
- IES becomes much more eco-friendly
- Saves IES money on producing new readers every semester
- Binders allow readers to be updated so they can stay current

1.2.2. Potential Costs

- Extra work for professors who have to flip through each individual reader to check their status at the end of each semester (possible solution posted above)
- Cost of each binder
- Time consuption for whoever is in charge of the program

1.3 How

Beginning, hopefully, in the spring semester, students will be distributed Readers with binders. Upon distribution, students will be told that they are required to return their Readers at the end of the semester. Students will pay a deposit at the beginning of the semester and if they fail to return the Readers, or return them in a condition that is deemed to be unacceptable they will not be given back their deposit. Readers will be assessed at the end of the semester by professors and damaged pages will be replaced. Readers will stored at IES until they are needed again.

1.3.1. “Cradle to Cradle” Design

My project has a somewhat of a Cradle-to-Cradle design. The overall goal of my project is to have a long-term effect of drastically cutting down wasted paper in IES. The only waste coming from my project will be damaged pieces of paper and damaged binders. However, this will be far less waste than currently produced by IES.

1.3.2. Questions for the unified survey

I did not find any need for questions in the survey.
Only possible question I could have come up with is "Are you in favor of a Reader system that integrates biodegradable binders so that Readers can be reused?"

1.3.3. Analysis of the results in the survey

Not Applicable

1.3.4. Incentives

Incentives to follow the program include not receiving back a deposit at the end of the semester and helping IES become more eco-friendly and cut down on waste.

1.3.5. Relationship with the "Sustainability Club" (SC)

There is no Sustainability Club at IES currently.

1.3.6. How will this action be sustained when you are not here?

Ideally an IES employee (ideally the IES librarian) can hopefully overlook the program. This person or group will be in charge of making sure that Readers are distributed with binders, handling deposits for missing or damaged Readers, and making sure that professors and/or students look through and correct Readers at the beginning or end of the semester.

1.3.7. Who will do what

- Some sort of governing body for the program (IES employees). They will be in charge of supplying binders and handling the deposits
- Professors and studetns will shift through Readers at the beginning of the semester to correct damaged pages.
- Students will use the Readers throughout the semester and hopefully be mindful of not damaging them.
missing/damaged Readers/parison to similar actions from previous semesters

1.3.8 Comparison to Similar Actions from Previous Semesters

My project bears a lot of similarities towards previous projects. In a previous recycling readers attempt they came up with the idea of using binders for the Readers so that they could stay updated and be easy to repair if damaged. I liked this idea very much, so I implemented it into my own action.

Some ideas that make my project different are the deposit system, which will serve as a strong incentive to students to follow the program. Also, involving the professors and studetns togerther in correcting damaged Readers is another difference.

1.3.9. Document Format


1.3.10. Copyright license of your report

1.4. Time-sheet/ Chronogram

November-December: Petition IES board to adopt my binder system. If accepted, hopefully purchase binders.
Start of Spring Semester: Distribute Readers and have professors and students fix them and begin the program.
Future: Program runs in this cycle

"Biodegradable Binders" Binders for Life.

Ryan Fleming, and Rachael Oacifico. "Course Readers."

Kendall Murphy, Laura Scuderi, Erin Berlin, and Betsy Fischer. "Onlien Course Readers."

Christina Vilmar, Sarah Gold, Sarah Plyler, and Amanda Vitullo. Recycling Readers.

1.7 Students involved in this action

Michael Moran is the leader of this action
People who helped on this action: Danny Karson, Kevin Mahoney, and John McCoy

Page last modified on Tuesday 11 of December, 2012 23:05:13