Dec 01, 2023

New Year, New Eco-Opportunity

With Staples, it’s easy to make a positive impact, one purchase at a time.

As charter schools strive to foster a culture of environmental responsibility among students and staff, it’s easier than ever to gain momentum one small step at a time. By making just one or more eco-friendly purchasing decisions, charter schools can not only reduce their environmental footprint but also set an inspiring example for students and the wider community.

It’s a trend that Jody Bartling, Key Account Executive for Facilities at Staples Business Advantage, is seeing gain momentum in both K-12 and university-level institutions. “The educational sector is starting to recognize there is benefit not only from an environmental standpoint, but also in setting a good example and supporting their core values. It can also lead to cost-savings and improved image.”

Thankfully, the path to sustainability is not a one-size-fits-all endeavor. Charter schools can tailor their approach to suit their unique needs and budget. Implementing all the strategies outlined below may not be feasible for every school, but even adopting one or two can make a significant difference and set your school — and your students — up for a greener, brighter future.

  1. Cut back on waste. For instance, choosing better-fitting trash can liners prevents excess plastic consumption, and replacing multifold paper towels with a dispenser offering settings to adjust the length and delay of dispenses supports resource conservation in restrooms.
  2. Switch to concentrated solutions. Transitioning from ready-to-use formulas to concentrated cleaning dilutions has big benefits (think: reduced packaging and transportation) and allows for a gradual approach. Switch to concentrated products for high-use items and gradually expand over time.
  3. Invest in Customized Recycling Centers. Installing customized recycling centers may require more upfront investment, but the long-term benefits are significant. Start with a pilot program in a specific area and gradually expand to other locations as resources allow. Bins can be custom built to fit any space and customized with placards that visually show students exactly in which bin to throw which item.
  4. Look for the Green Checkmark. Begin by identifying frequently purchased items and searching for greener, ECO-ID designated alternatives. A green checkmark quickly and easily identifies green products as you shop online at Staples. You can even filter searches to show only ECO-ID designated products! Ascampus awareness grows, the adoption of green products can become increasingly more routine. 
The Silver & Gold Go Green

Most Coloradoans know the University of Colorado (CU), a system of three public universities across four campus locations. By integrating Staples Business Advantage into their existing platform, CU both streamlined purchasing and consolidated products achieving a 23% annual cost reduction. The university also has reduced its carbon footprint by consolidating its facilities and office supply purchases into one single order.

While most charter schools aren’t as large as CU, many larger networks have multiple campuses and even the smaller campuses can share in these same benefits, says Bartling. As a premium sponsor of the League, Staples Business Advantage offers charter schools custom pricing and account capabilities. 

“If you have an existing Staples account,” explains Bartling, “ensure it’s tied to the League’s account #1040312. Hundreds of charter school members leveraging their spend allows charters to get significantly lower contracted pricing on over 14,000+ core items, including eco-friendly cleaning products.”

Free Site Assessments Can Help

To assist schools in re-evaluating their purchase decisions and identifying areas for improvement, Staples offers free site assessments. Their friendly, experienced team will conduct a walk-through to evaluate your school's current purchasing habits, using fresh eyes and a wealth of product knowledge to note areas where the easiest and/or most impactful changes can be made. Remember, even small steps can make a significant difference in your school's environmental footprint. 

“My Colorado-based team is well-versed in the needs of charter schools and eager to help with product selection, account setup, facility site-surveys and more,” states Bartling. Contact her today to get started.

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