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Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

Almanac: Green School Supplies

Air Date: Week of

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This week, facts about green school supplies. As kids head back to school, paper and pencils are getting more environmentally friendly.


CURWOOD: It's Living on Earth. I'm Steve Curwood.

[MUSIC: School Days]

CURWOOD: Kids across the country are back in class again, and some of them have the latest in eco-friendly school supplies. There's a bio-degradable pen, with a cap and barrel made from corn starch. And there are pencils covered, not in wood, but in recycled denim. Among the most ingenious items: notebooks made from banana stalks left over from harvest in Costa Rica. Stalks form the truck of the banana plant and are usually thrown away after the fruit is harvested. This created a quarter of a million tons of waste in Costa Rica each year. Now, the stalks are ground to a pulp then mixed with recycled paper to make stationary, notebook and copy paper. A Japanese company has even published a children's book called, "The Miracle Banana." The slender volume on the making of banana paper is printed on, well, take a guess.

Crayons, too, can come in many colors and still be green. Some brands use non-toxic oil from soybeans instead of petroleum. Just one acre of soybeans, by the way, could produce more than 80,000 crayons, all bio-degradable, but they're still not edible. And for this week, that's the Living on Earth Almanac.




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