Notebook covers are made from trees too

Lakhs of students, millions of books, thousands of trees!

It’s that time of the year again. All parents are busy collecting books from schools and covering them in brown paper sheets. They are busy shopping for school supplies. New uniforms, new bags, new tiffin sets. Why? If last year’s set is in good shape, why buy again?

The schools expect every student to buy books from them, often at a marked-up price. They also make it compulsory to buy brown paper sheets, often plastic coated and notebook labels. What’s the use of covering notebooks? If the idea is to reduce wear and tear for a longer time, why not use just newspaper sheets or old calendar pages. When the cover frays, redo the cover again with fresh sheets. I hear the Valley school Bangalore follows this eco-friendly practice.

When I was in school, we used to be jealous of students who had siblings a year or two older – they automatically got their sister’s or brother’s textbooks. By end of the school year, the rest of us scrambled to “book” textbooks from our favourite seniors. Sometimes, textbooks were even third-hand and occasionally fourth-hand – frayed and held together in a hardbound. The unlucky few had to spend money to buy new textbooks.

After exams got over, we’d collect unused pages from each book and bind them into new notebooks for rough use.

Yes, those days were harder, our parents were frugal on their spending. Things are easier now, we can afford to buy more. But there aren’t more trees in this planet, are there?

Happy Earth Day!

 Do share your experiences on this! Which are the other schools that are eco-friendly?

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About Meera K 42 Articles
Meera K is the co-founder of Citizen Matters, the award-winning civic media platform. She also helped initiate Open City, an urban data platform ( Meera is an Ashoka Fellow, recognised for her work building open knowledge platforms that allow citizens to collaborate and improve their cities. She is Founder-trustee at Oorvani Foundation.


  1. My son’s school’s book vendor provided plastic coated brown paper. I raised the issue to the school (Prakriya), and they clarified that it was not necessary to cover the books. And that one could use newspapers too.
    But few schools are this flexible and most prefer to tread a single rigid path. Including government schools. Those working as cooks or domestic help tell me how they have to spend on brown paper every year!
    Imagine the lakhs of students in the city and how much waste there is!!

  2. That’s such a thought!

    Besides, the concepts of Reuse and Recycle are not “cool” anymore. It’s alarming!

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