Collegians, in this economy, who wants to spend more for shiny new textbooks? If you're sick of the paper chase, think how the forests must feel. In 2006, the American book industry emitted 12.4 million tons of CO2, the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and 63 percent of that carbon footprint came from paper; each book accounted for almost nine pounds of GHG emissions. See the report here. It's egregious enough to have to pay big bucks for those xeroxed custom class tomes compiled by professors (but don't try to get away without it!).

To mitigate the damage, recycle books. Buy or sell used textbooks here and here. You can search for your college bookstore and compare prices with this online used/discount seller here. You can also exchange (for free!) books, music and movies with others -- an especially good option if you need novels (for English, History, Comp. Lit., etc.).

Big, black, 100 percent PCW (post consumer recycled) rubber portfolios, made from old tires, and 100 percent PCW recycled rubber backpacks (perfect for biking in the rain, and resilient padding, should you take a fall), from Green Earth Office Supply. 

Hot hemp backpacks: Don't forget to grab that essential monthly planner/calendar for the academic year.

Go for broken-in books, and you won't go broke. At least not at the start of the year!

This article originally appeared in Plenty in August 2008. The story was added to MNN.com in July 2009.

Copyright Environ Press 2008