Culture nice backside

Published on July 26th, 2010 | by Jeff McIntire-Strasburg

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Student Activists Fight Paper Waste: Use the Backside

nice backside

Two-sided printing is slowly becoming standard practice in many business and non-profit settings… why recycled a sheet of paper before you’re used it completely? That idea often doesn’t translate, though, when we’re writing by hand or drawing. Students at Atlanta-based design school The Creative Circus saw an awful lot of paper being wasted in the concepting process — the sketching out of initial ideas — and decided to show their fellow student and teachers — literally — the amount of paper being discarded that still had half of its useful life left in it.

Last Monday, these students put all of that wasted paper right in front of the school community by “decorating” the walls and ceilings of The Creative Circus with ads they’d created (on the backs of discarded paper) focused on this issue. Paper not used for displays was turned into free notebooks that students and staff could use for their concepting work. Student Sarah Gatling sent me a ton of pictures from the event… here are just a few…

One of the ads created by a student activist at The Creative Circus

One of the ads created by a student activist at The Creative Circus

Notebooks made from paper with blank backsides

Notebooks made from paper with blank backsides

A student reads one of the posted advertisements on paper waste

A student reads one of the posted advertisements on paper waste

Another student checks out the handmade notebooks of discarded paper

Another student checks out the handmade notebooks of discarded paper

Sarah tells me the event was in the works for months, and clearly got community members’ attention. The student activist involved hope that their peers and teachers take the event’s mantra to heart: “Fresh ideas don’t need fresh sheets of paper.”

Congratulations to these students… what a great idea! If you were there, or know of other similar events, let us know about them…

While you want to get the most use out of any paper products you use, your impact is lowered even more when those products contain recycled content. Check out our current listings of recycled paper, mailing materials, filing supplies, and notebooks.

Photo credits: Marc Risik, The Creative Circus



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About the Author

Jeff McIntire-Strasburg is the founder and editor of sustainablog. You can keep up with all of his writing at Facebook, and at



  • http://www.humanwear.com Jellie Stanton

    I really like this story Jeff. I feel this is such an easy way for all of us to give paper a longer life. These students relayed the message in such a creative way which makes the message easier to receive and longer lasting.

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