The common phrase, "reduce, reuse, and rethink," is a popular starting point when thinking about consumption on campus and is used as an unofficial Office for Sustainability mantra in many different contexts. It's exciting to learn that others take this mantra to heart as well.

The Harvard Kennedy School's Annie Olszewski is one such individual. After a recent merging of two offices within HKS, letterhead for the office needed updating and was no longer usable. Instead of looking for the nearest recycle bin, Annie began “rethinking” the problem and found a creative and effective solution.

Inspired by a similar project executed by HKS Green Team leader Sharon Johnson, Annie reached out to a local printing business to re-appropriate the unusable letterhead into quality reusable notebooks. The center turned a total of 17,000 pieces of paper and 300 folders into 261, high-quality notebooks. The best part is these notebooks were created for a fraction of the price of purchasing similar notebooks new and made great giveaways to team members at a staff retreat. 

Fashion your own recycled paper into notebooks or other bound materials:

  1. Collect one-sided gently used paper

    a. Ensure paper does not contain any sensitive or confidential information
  2. When you’ve gathered enough paper for several notebooks, contact a local printing company and get an estimate for spiral or glue binding notebooks. 

    a. Harvard University Mail and Print Services, Flash Print, Gnome Copy, and Staples are a few options in Harvard Square, but most local printers can accommodate this request. 

    b. Note: glued bindings are more economical than spiral bindings.
  3. Drop off your paper at the local printing shop and pick up your notebooks in a few days!

Congratulations to the Initiative for Responsible Investment and The Hauser Institute for Civil Society team at the Kennedy School for creatively rethinking and reusing!