1. Re-sell and Re-use School Supplies and Barcelona Guide Books
The action is to provide an area where students can donate their used school supplies and Barcelona Guide books to be sold at a cheap price to next semester’s students. Boxes, which will be previously used computer paper boxes, labeled according to each type of item (writing utensils, notebooks, folders and binders, and Barcelona guide books) will be placed on the first floor of the IES building near the computer area during the final examination period. Items left behind will be sold to next semester’s students at a very cheap price and the money made from sales will go directly to the IES sustainability fund. Such supplies will be sold for the following prices:
1)Folders, binders: 10 cents, 25 cents
2)Notebooks: 20 cents
3)Writing utensils (highlighters, pens, and pencils): 5 for 20 cents, 10 for 35 cents
4)Barcelona travel booklets: 2 euros
Hopefully, this opportunity will be mentioned in either the IES Welcome Packet or Student Agenda (This is not necessarily part of my action, but I will be contributing this information to the action of a classmate who is trying to include information on sustainability in these documents).
When the spring 2010 semester ends and students have taken their final exams, many of them will throw their used school supplies (writing utensils, folders, notebooks, binders, etc.) and Barcelona Guide Books that they no longer need into the garbage in order to lighten the load of their suitcases for their journey home. This is because most airlines charge a fee for extra-heavy luggage. British Airways, for instance, charges $50 (23 euros) for checked luggage that ways over 23kg (51lbs). This is an expensive liability for students who will have little money to return home with, which gives them the incentive to simply throw their school materials away.
When next semester begins, a good number of students will likely buy such supplies and tour books at an expensive price either in the United States or in Barcelona. For example, most Barcelona tour books sold at Borders Books in the U.S. cost more than $10.95 (USD) and notebooks sold at Il Corte Ingles cost between 6 to 8 euros. Disposing used items into the garbage is an obvious waste of material, such as paper, plastic, and other materials, and paying too much for these items is a waste of money. This action thus conserves materials by encouraging the spring 2010 semester’s students to leave their used books and school materials at a designated area in the IES building instead of throwing them away, and will give next semester’s students the chance to buy them at a very cheap price as opposed to overpaying at stores like Borders or Il Corte Ingles.
Furthermore, students who take Sustainability: Actions and Responses in the future will be obliged to do a sustainable action project. Sometimes, students’ action plans require them to spend money on various materials, such as those working on putting together a garden out on the IES terrace. Unfortunately, IES does not have a sufficient amount of money in its sustainability fund to accommodate the monetary needs of every student’s project. The money made from used school supplies and guide book sales will contribute, even if only a little, to IES’s sustainability fund and thus provide students with greater fiscal means towards completing their sustainable action.
This action can be looked at in terms of reinforcing loops. By donating more supplies to IES, students create less waste by not throwing the items away (-), help to make money for the sustainability fund (+), thus monetarily contributing to further sustainable actions (+). Furthermore, students suitcases will be lighter (-), so they will not be charged a fee (-), and next semester’s students will pay less for school supplies (-), another reinforcing loop.
1.2.1. Potential Benefits
-Pens, pencils, and highlighters are most often made out of non-renewable materials that contain environmentally damaging chemicals. By saving ones that have not been used up completely, we lessen their impact on the environment.
-Next semester’s students would be able to spend less on school supplies, so money is conserved!
-500 sheets of notebook paper use 6% of a tree. If IES Barcelona students can conserve over 16 and 1/3 notebooks worth of paper, they can save 1 tree over a two-semester period. By continuing the action, over 10 trees can be saved over the next ten years. 320 trees can be saved if this action is implemented at all of the other IES Abroad locations. Obviously, if more notebooks are saved, more trees will be saved.
-Cardboard is the largest component of municipal waste in the world and over 80% of goods are packaged in cardboard boxes (www.cardboardrecycling.org). Thus, by using the same computer paper boxes to collect items every year, though small in scope, will reduce negative environmental impacts that non-recycled cardboard creates over a long period of time.
22.214.171.124. Monetary Benefits
-If IES sells:
100 Folders=10 euro
40 Binders=10 euro
200 writing utensils=10 euro
20 Barcelona books=40
-Then, IES makes 80 euro towards the sustainability fund!
1.2.2. Potential Costs
In terms of money, there are no costs except for the prices that next semester’s students will have to pay for the used school materials that they buy at IES. All school supplies and guide books are to be donated, boxes used for collection will be empty computer paper boxes, and labels made for each box will use recycled paper. Thus, no money has to be spent to complete this action. There are very little time costs, as well. In total, it will likely take about one hour (at most) to put up flyers and send an e-mail to all IES Barcelona students informing them of the action. It might also take a few minutes to collect the boxes and store them before the building closes. There is, however, a small cost in terms of space as the boxes will need to be stored. According to Dawn, this is not an issue and the boxes will be stored near the academic administrator’s desks on the third floor.
This action has not been completed yet, as it is designed to take place during finals week. However, it has been approved by the student council and will be put into effect on Friday, April 23rd, the first day of the final examination period. Implementation for this action is fairly simple, as it only requires that students be informed about the opportunity to donate their school supplies to IES, that four computer boxes be saved in order to use them to contain donated items and that labels are created for each box.
To inform IES students about the action, flyers will be posted outside of each entrance into IES’s part of the building and above each printing station as these areas receive the most foot-traffic and will thus be seen by the most students at a given time of the day. In addition, an e-mail will be sent to all students reminding them to drop off school supplies that they are not bringing home with them into the appropriately labeled boxes. This is the flyer to be posted around IES
Boxes labeled according to type of school material will be placed on the table closest to the computer area of the first floor of the building because this is the most populated area throughout the day. Therefore, it will be convenient for students to leave their used items and Barcelona guide books in the designated area. At the end of each day boxes will be collected by a member of the staff and stowed away in the Academics area of the first floor and put out again when the building opens. This will be repeated until the end of the program and the boxes will be stored in the same location until next semester.
My hope is that during the first week of classes, a member of the IES staff or student volunteer will be available to sell the collected items for the given prices. This part of the project is still in the process of being negotiated and will be the most difficult to implement since I will not be in Barcelona next semester. However, I am confident that a member of the staff will volunteer to do it, as it contributes to IES funding.
1.4. References and Links
"Cardboard Recycling." Cardboard Recycling. Cardboardrecylcing.org. Web. 15 Apr. 2010. <http://cardboardrecycling.org/>.
"Conservatree." Conservatree - Recycled and Environmental Paper Information. Conservatree. Web. 15 Apr. 2010. <http://www.conservatree.com/learn/EnviroIssues/TreeStats.shtml>.
Seal, Green. "Green Pencils and Pens | Care2 Healthy & Green Living." Care2 - Largest Online Community for Healthy and Green Living, Human Rights and Animal Welfare. Web. 15 Apr. 2010. <http://www.care2.com/greenliving/green-pencils-and-pens.html#>.
1.5. People Involved in This Action
Sarah Gold: creator of Reuse and Resell flyer
Christina Vilmar: distributor of flyers
Steven Dothage: help obtain boxes and help create labels for boxes
Ryan Waingortin: leader of action, leader of negotiations with class council and IES staff, help obtain boxes and create labels for boxes
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