Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.
Extra Ed believes that we are in the midst of a global environmental crisis. And while climate change might grab most of the headlines, sadly, this crisis extends to species extinction, pollution of air and water, unsustainable consumption, unsustainable waste, and on and on. This affects rich and poor, and young and old. We are all in this together.
Making a difference and being a positive force environmentally are core parts of this organization’s values, and we are determined to help in the small ways that a business like ours can. We know we can’t solve all the world’s problems, but we believe that taking any action, no matter how small it may seem in the face of a bigger problem, makes a difference.
With this said, here is what this organization is doing.
Extra Ed puts a great deal of thought, at every level of the organization, into limiting the amount of resources we use. Here are the highlights:
We use G.O.O.S. Paper (Good On Other Side) in our office and at every level of our operations.
We are shocked, each and every day, at the amount of wasted paper we see all around us. And it’s not just the obvious – those full, crisp pages with only a small blemish that could still be run through a printer. It’s also the sheets that have unused halves or corners, or the envelopes from all that junk mail that are carelessly discarded without a thought.
We turn waste into our office supplies! Here’s how:
We turn junk-mail envelopes into our office notepads. We also take the corners and edges of mostly used sheets of paper into those same notepads. It’s amazing what a tweak in habits and a good pair of scissors can accomplish!
We turn the GOOS paper we collect – and that is A LOT of paper – into the paper we print on and use for daily operations. It may not look very fancy at some of the meetings we attend, but we are proud of it!
We have gone digital, where possible, with our curriculum materials, so that we have less need for any paper at all. This has reduced our need for paper substantially, and is an on-going endeavor for us.
At the moment, we estimate that we have reduced our need for new paper or new paper products by 80%. Our goal is to reach 100%.
We collect used school supplies that would otherwise be discarded and use them as our office materials. This includes papers, pens, binders, notebooks, staplers, and on and on. We rarely find the need to go out and purchase anything, but in those cases, we buy used when possible (and it is possible for nearly anything).
We have transitioned the majority of our curriculum materials to digital formats in an effort to reduce our need for paper altogether. This has made a significant impact, and our work here will only be complete when we have completely eliminated any need for paper at all.
We encourage our staff to use public transportation, walk, ride their bikes, or carpool to their programs. We do our absolute best to make this as easy as possible for them by placing them in schools that are close to where they live.
We are always on the hunt for a great idea about how to become even more resourceful. Any suggestions? Let us know!
We are working every day to transform even the greenest of schools into “No Waste” areas that become shining beacons of resourcefulness, teamwork, and pride for everyone involved.
Extra Ed’s volunteers help school offices and classrooms integrate practices that make repurposing much of their waste effortless. Participating schools see principals, teachers, parents, students, and custodians make small tweaks that not only make an enormous impact environmentally, but also save schools thousands of dollars each year.
Alongside this effort, schools also become depots for the collection, and proper disposal, of materials like electronic waste, batteries, and other items that all-too-often find their ways into our landfills.
These initiatives are often volunteer driven, but Extra Ed also spends its own funds to make these initiatives a reality. Our best hope is that these changes take hold and become “business as usual” in all schools.
Extra Ed plants a native tree with every registration we receive. These trees are given directly to our students as sprouts, unless they opt to have us plant if for them locally instead.
These tree sprouts are the very embodiment of long-term thinking and good stewardship. If nurtured and supported, they will outlive all of us – some by hundreds of years – and future generations will thank us for planting them.
We need these trees now more than ever, and thanks to your registrations and support, we are making a difference!