San Francisco schools to begin recycling used workbooks

At the end of the year at most elementary schools, teachers walk around with garbage cans and help their students clean out their lockers and prepare for the summer. Year after year, the enormous amount of waste began to build up, and teachers have begun to notice that a large amount of resources were simply being diverted to a landfill. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the San Francisco Unified School District is taking proactive steps to reuse a number of important materials to save storage space and reduce their waste.

The biggest problem for many schools across the country is finding ways to dispose of workbooks that the children use all year long. Many of these items are packaged with textbooks and other teaching materials that are a necessary part of the curriculum. However, at the end of the year, many of these workbooks end up in storage areas or in garbage cans, so it has become a real problem for school districts.

"My issue has always been that even if the books are outdated, there's someone somewhere who could use these books," Patricia Gray, assistant superintendent, told the news source. "They take up an enormous amount of space."

The school district has taken some promising steps to reduce its waste over the past few years. It has diverted 53 percent of waste from landfills by recycling and composting trash, but the use of workbooks is still a drain on the school's finances. The district is looking for innovative ways to control their waste, but will need to go up against the $8 billion textbook industry to have any hope of becoming more sustainable. By reducing waste on the front end, the district can create a greener environment for students.