Sotiris is a high school student in Greece who has always been eco-aware and has taken part in many reforestation and other similar environmental activities. Sotiris, with the technical support of his university lab, created a website (http://www.book4book.gr/en) acting as an online platform to match requests and exchange books of interest for school students.
Every year, deforestation takes place due to the use of lumber for paper products and books. A major portion of the books produced are sent to schools to support the educational process. However, re-printing the same books every year for the same classes constitutes a real waste of paper that could be easily avoided.
Greece is a characteristic example: According to statistics, every school year in Greece, 45 million new school books are printed, which represents a cost of about 26 million euros. Apart from the high printing costs, this results in 270,000 trees being cut! However, at the end of each school year, most of the books printed end up useless on the shelves or even discarded. New books are to be printed the following year to be delivered to the next generation of students to come, and the chain goes on and on. Books, though, do not have an expiration date. Thus, re-using school books at a wide scale is the answer.
In a spirit of solidarity and environmental awareness, the site that Sotiris created aspires to host young students and parents who wish to find books online for free, quickly and easily. The users of the platform can offer or search for school books of a specific grade that other users living close to them may already have requested or offered, and arrange an exchange to take place. Furthermore, school managers or even students can organize a meeting for the mass exchange of books of certain classes inside a school or in a public place.
Book4Book will eventually establish a social network, connecting students and schools that will be able to join and massively “recycle” their old books of various educational levels from a single access point.
The site already has more than 900 registered members and thousands of visitors. Platform members have organized numerous book exchanges with the participation of many students and have received emails from schools and media praising the project and stating their interest in participating and organizing local mass book exchanges in the beginning of each year through the website.