New website Educycle: Putting surplus classroom and office materials to good use

Marina resident Mary Loung founded to help redistribute surplus teaching and office supplies photo: henry wu

With another new school year underway, kids and parents are visting local retailers to buy everything they need to succeed in class and beyond. But they won’t be the only ones looking to buy school supplies; teachers will be, too.

And believe it or not, teaching can get very expensive, especially for a profession that isn’t known for its high salaries. Making matters worse, new materials are needed every year and old materials are often discarded.

A new Bay Area website is trying to change the way educational materials are recycled, not to mention save teachers a little money. Launched on Aug. 20, is designed around the same premise as other community-focused websites such as Craigslist. There are even easy-to-find deals, such as under-$5 items, free things, and business donations.

The idea behind the platform is simple: Give teachers, schools, and businesses a place to recycle their new or used teaching and office materials.

“Teachers often find themselves changing grades through-out the lifetime of their profession, or trying different materials to enhance the curriculum. We end up buying materials one year and dumping them the next,” says founder Mary Loung, a Marina resident who has taught 2nd through 5th grade for 10-plus years in the Bay Area. “I wanted to give my materials to someone who might need them.”

Loung began using sites such as Craigslist to post her old materials and search for things she needed, but she says it was difficult navigating these listings for teaching materials.

“Many of my postings remained unanswered, even though teachers are willing to drive many miles to pick up materials,” said Loung. “So that’s why I started educycle.”

The site is open to any educator or business in the Bay Area.

Teachers, schools and local businesses are encouraged to log onto and donate their new or gently used materials so that a another classroom in the Bay Area can use them. The service is free to use, and most businesses that donate can get a formal letter acknowledging their donation for tax purposes.

Teaching the “leaders of tomorrow” is a tough job and, as the saying goes, “It takes a village.” Educycle hopes to help you become a part of
that village.

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