Creating a yearbook that beautifully captures the student body experience and supports the environment may seem like a daunting task. Still, with today’s eco-friendly products and applications, it’s likely more straightforward than you may think. Digital tools, sustainable paper options, and eco-friendly materials are available for yearbook planning committees to use for the production of an affordable, appealing, and sustainable school yearbook.
At FutureBook Yearbooks, we are experts in the eco-conscious yearbook. We want to share tips and tricks we believe you’ll find essential to creating a sustainable, tree-free, and professional-looking annual.
Curious to know more? Keep reading. We have seven reliable and straightforward ways that you can use to build a successful and eco-friendly yearbook!
Choose Tree-Free Paper
An easy way to ensure your yearbook planning team delivers a green product is to choose to use a paper product that is entirely tree-free. Wait, what? Yes, tree-free paper is a reality! Not only is it a reality, but it’s also a sustainably managed resource.
What is tree-free paper? Paper produced from fibers sourced from materials other than trees is a tree-free paper product. Commonly used treeless paper options come from crops of bamboo grasses, hemp plants, or flax.
Bamboo paper is an especially eco-sensible choice because bamboo is the fastest growing plant on our planet. Even more amazingly, the bamboo plant produces 30% more oxygen than trees! Using bamboo as the paper material in a yearbook means support for a completely renewable resource, and harmful deforestation practices are prevented.
Want to learn more fun facts about what makes bamboo so amazing? Read here!
Opt for Water Soluble and Vegetable Based Printing Dyes
Printing adhesives and lamination choices can easily support a yearbook team’s initiative to make a planet-happy product. Hazardous chemicals found in traditional petroleum-based printing solutions can be avoided and replaced with safer and less harsh printing materials.
Lamination products, used to produce high-gloss paper finishes, were once made of hazardous chemicals, like benzene and toluene, that contribute to global water pollution. Fortunately, the adhesive industry has evolved, and there are choices available now that are less harmful and water-soluble.
Selecting vegetable-based dye over petroleum-based inks help yearbook teams to reduce pollution levels in our atmosphere and water supplies. Vegetable dyes are free of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), making them a kinder, gentler choice for printing applications.
Another benefit of vegetable dyes is they produce more vibrant and vivid looking colors than the classic petroleum-based inks!
Produce a Yearbook that Gives Back
Another idea we love that will make your yearbook eco-friendly is for your yearbook committee to give back to the environment during the yearbook planning process. Complete your eco-friendly yearbook theme with images from school-supported environmental initiatives. Ideas to consider as part of a green-themed yearbook planning process are:
- Work with your school administrators to limit the use of single-use plastics.
- Challenge classmates to a “walk to school” week in support of reduced carbon emissions.
- Choose a yearbook supplier that plants a tree for every yearbook printed. (Yes! We do that! Learn more here!)
- Host a clothing swap to encourage the benefits of secondhand clothing.
Go Green For Your Yearbook Theme
A green yearbook theme can be a fun way to promote your school’s eco-friendly ideologies and solidify efforts to produce a book that’s kind to the environment.
Some simple ideas for themes that are creative, environmentally conscious, and cohesive are:
- Grow. Combine how the year’s students have grown together as a class with their efforts to increase the use of sustainable resources.
- It’s Our Turn. Focus on careers students want to pursue that will work to reduce pollution, improve energy efficiency in homes, or support nature.
- It’s a Small World. Showcase how students of today are part of the global community, and how that resonates within the school halls.
Maximize Use of Digital Resources
Limit paper use for the planning and creation of your yearbook. Instead, maximize the use of readily available digital resources that will reduce the committee’s carbon footprint.
Online Yearbook Ladder
The yearbook ladder is a key aspect of the yearbook planning process that’s very easy to maneuver in a digital format. A digital adaptation of the yearbook ladder will prevent high amounts of paper from being used, as well as streamline the communication between team members. When edits and changes made to the digital ladder planner need to be shared, it’s easy to keep everyone “in the know.” Share the file with team members after each edit.
Rely on email and group texts to communicate with each of your yearbook members effectively. Instead of sticky notes or handing out printed documents or newsletters, try to use only paper-free options.
Host Eco-Friendly Online Yearbook Events
To truly capture the experiences of a school’s student life, it’s essential to go where students spend their time. In 2020, that means shifting attention towards online platforms. Consider online conferencing options to host online discussions and events. Challenge students to make and share a themed video that encourages support for stopping climate change. Ask classmates to submit selfies of themselves actively recycling or composting.
Looking for other ways to inspire student yearbook participation? Learn more here!
Contribute to Local Conservation Efforts
Showcasing student involvement in local conservation efforts is a wonderful way to add eco-friendly images to your yearbook while instilling a sense of community and pride in students.
Seek out local environmental groups, animal shelters, or community gardens to find out if they require student volunteers during the year. Invite conservation professionals to give speeches and educate students on what they can in their area to support conservation efforts.
Let FutureBook Yearbooks Be Part of The Journey
Climate conscious consumer choices are becoming increasingly easy to make in today’s marketplace. And at FutureBook Yearbooks, we are proud to be part of the eco-friendly consumer movement. How we do that is by helping our customers create beautiful yearbooks made from sustainable materials and products.
We do this by utilizing the growing variety of products and services available from suppliers we’ve chosen to work with who support sustainable resource management. Our commitment to sustainability and consistent quality has allowed us to learn creative ways to help our clients build an eco-friendly yearbook.