What Company Is The Best For School Yearbooks

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I love the tradition of school yearbooks—that’s why I’m a part of the TreeRing team—but what I can’t comprehend is the legacy of piling up stacks of unsold school yearbooks in the utility closest year after year. To me, answering the question “what company is the best for school yearbooks,” has a lot to do with the ethics of your publisher.

Traditional publishers leave schools with leftover books, which causes two problems: first, the absolute dollar amount to schools, parents and tax payers, who ultimately bear the cost for leftover school yearbooks, and second, the unnecessary waste of natural resources that it all causes. I’ll address both.

Unsold School Yearbooks Cost Money

Farhad Manjoo painted an ugly picture in his Slate News story, Most Likely to Succeed, telling how schools across the country are losing money on a broken model that only benefits the publishers. Publishers require schools to sign a contract committing to books that they don’t even need. I think publishers need to take some responsibility towards our nation’s education and put an end to subsidizing their lucrative business models off the backs of schools. But they won’t, and would you if it meant giving up on more than $50 million a year? Technology is answering this problem with on demand printing, facilitating the opportunity for schools to be only what they need: the books parents pay for.

Leftover Yearbooks Are A Drain On Natural Resources

Money matters and so does getting rid of the unnecessary waste of natural resources caused by printing books that will spend their lives in a dark school closet. Look, I get it, sometimes it’s hard to conceptualize what a few extra books here or there actually adds up to. I mean, does it really make a difference? Well yes, it does.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, paper is the largest contributor to solid waste in the United States. Leftover yearbooks add to the drain on resources. Based on a sampling of several thousand schools we estimate the waste in paper to be more than 50 million pages annually. From research done by the EPA we know that eliminating 10 million pages will save 2500 trees, 56,000 gallons of oil, 450,000 cubic yards of landfill and an astonishing 565,000 Kilowatts of energy, which for a cycling fan like me, means enough power to win 27 Tour de France races! That’s worth doing something about.

Remember our pact, saying no to leftover books? So how do we make the change? Here’s how:

  • Try to purchase yearbooks printed on recycled paper.
  • Look for publishers who give back to the environment.
  • Never sign a yearbook contract that requires you to commit to a set number of books.
  • Consider running a fundraiser at your school that earns enough money to plant a few trees around the building.
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