Just a few semesters ago, it felt like it was a given that selling back textbooks was a pretty awful process. We could describe buyback it as a hassle that almost always involved waiting in lines only to experience disappointment over feeling utterly ripped off. But things have changed — and for the better.

Not only does textbook buyback not have to be a time-waster that culminates in rage, it can actually be fast, easy, and lucrative.

Here, in Part 1 of our Spring Textbook Buyback series, we’ll touch on the rules and basics of buyback. This info will help you get organized and it will put you in great shape when it comes to actually selling your books back in the coming weeks. In our next installment, we’ll go deeper and we’ll cover tips and tricks that will get you the most money back — sometimes so much that you actually will have made money buying, owning, and selling back a textbook!

Buyback Rules, Basics, and Reminders

  1. Avoid the campus bookstore. Sure, you can try to sell your books back at the college bookstore, but bookstores are notorious for 1) making students stand in line for hours, 2) declining to buy a lot of titles, 3) offering about $5 for that book that cost $200 at the beginning of the semester.
  2. Shop around. In owning textbooks, you possess a valuable commodity and your have options. Use the CampusBooks.com SELL Price Comparison Tool to see ALL of the offers available and to pick the best deal.
  3. Don’t assume that you can’t sell certain books. Even if you highlighted text or used the access card, your textbooks — even a little used and/or without supplements — may still have buyback value, which brings us to…
  4. Be honest. Don’t tell a buyer that your textbook is in good condition when it’s warped from a beer spill. Don’t say that the book is complete when you lost the DVD. It’s better to get a little less than to get nothing at all.
  5. Read the fine print. Some buyers have a minimum for payout, some offer credit rather than cash. Others buyers won’t accept books shipped without using official pre-paid labels or they won’t take international editions. Know the deal before you take it. #LifeLessons
  6. Follow instructions and follow through. Remember that thing about textbooks being a valuable commodity? That. When it comes to buyback, you’re dealing with for-profit businesses, not your softy English professor who always gives extensions and grades on a curve. So, if a buyer tells you that a buyback quote is good through a certain date and that you need to ship the book via UPS and pack it with the quote printed out and in the envelope, you need to do exactly that.

Next Steps

  1. Keep this list handy for when you’re ready to sell.
  2. If there are textbooks that you’re already finished with and don’t need for finals or term-papers, start putting them into Keep/Sell piles.
  3. Check your shelves for any books you’ve held onto in the past but now might be ready to sell and add those to your Sell pile.
  4. Stay tuned for Part 2 where we’ll talk about tools that can make selling back books easier and faster and we’ll also talk about timing and how holding onto your book a little longer could mean getting a lot more money later.

College students are juggling a variety of obligations, such as classes, Greek life, study groups, jobs, and sports. It’s easy to be busy and forget about how your lifestyle is impacting the environment. Fortunately, there are simple steps you can take to go green while living on campus.

Go Green in the Dining Hall

Many people like the convenience of using paper or Styrofoam containers for their food. You can go green in the dining hall by staying away from disposable containers. Put your food and drink in containers that the staff can wash and reuse. Encourage your friends to do the same. You can even cut back on having to use glassware for beverages. If the cafeteria allows it, bring your own mug or water bottle. And if you grab food to go, bring your own reusable bag.

Join Your Campus Green Team

Almost every university has a group of students who are working to implement green practices across campus. Whether it’s called a “green team” or something different, the campus group spends its efforts on reducing waste and encouraging policies that will protect the environment. From making a campus more bicycle friendly to increasing the visibility of recycling bins, these groups lead their campuses toward making meaningful changes. Check out the next group meeting to see how you can get involved. It’s also a great way to meet new people and spend time outside.

Make It Easy to Recycle

Most campuses offer recycling bins for paper, plastic, and glass. But the bins may be in common areas, meaning students may or may not remember to bring their recyclables to the receptacle. To solve this problem, you simply need to make it as easy to set aside items for recycling as it is to throw them in the garbage. Buy a container for your dorm room where you can place recyclable material and put it right next to your trash can. When it’s full, dump it in one of the university’s larger bins. With this plan, it’s easy to separate recyclables from trash for the landfill.

If you’re part of a campus green team, start a campaign to raise awareness about the importance of recycling. Your group can create promotional videos and develop eye-catching signage to help students understand how to separate trash and recyclables into the correct bins.

Turn It Off and Unplug

Every time you leave your dorm room, turn off all lights and electronics that don’t need to remain on. You can also reduce your energy consumption by only plugging in appliances when in use. For example, if you keep a coffee pot in your room, only plug it in when you’re ready to brew coffee. Other items you can likely unplug include phone chargers, microwaves, and laptops. Even when off, appliances still use power simply by being plugged in.

Use Less Paper

Even though you may have to print off some assignments, opt to submit your papers digitally whenever possible. You can also decrease the margins on your papers to decrease how many pages you print or you can print on both sides of the page. At Penn State University, students, administrators, and professors have decreased paper usage by 5 percent simply by changing margins from 1.25 to .75 inches.

As an individual and a member of a green team, you can make your campus greener and reduce your impact on the environment.

College, with a host of environmental clubs and recycling programs available on most campuses is the ideal place to explore your passion for the planet. But before you take all your trash to the recycling bins, it’s important to know what really belongs there. Here are some of the more-surprising things that you can and can’t recycle.

Mind Your Plastics

Americans create 10.5 million tons of plastic waste every year. Only 1 to 2 percent of that gets recycled, but much more of it could be reprocessed. Check the code on your plastic container to see whether it’s recyclable. Plastic collection for recycling varies by city based upon equipment and labor. In general:

  • Plastic items with codes 1 and 2 are always recyclable. Bin them with ease (and try to keep your plastic usage minimal and limited to codes 1 and 2).
  • Those with codes 3, 6, and 7 should almost always be put in the regular trash (unless you’ve been notified otherwise by your campus).
  • Plastic waste with codes 4 and 5 are accepted by some recycling facilities but not others so ask your campus recycling program coordinator what you should do with these.

You’ve also got to make sure your plastic is clean. A half-empty plastic container or soda bottle could contaminate an entire bale of plastic that should have been recycled. Dump the waste and give it a rinse.

Recycle Batteries Properly

We all use dry-cell batteries to power our alarm clocks, remote controls, and household gadgets. As a nation, we buy 3 billion of these batteries every year. You might not realize that alkaline, carbon-zinc, NiCad, and NiMH batteries can all be recycled, but not in the regular way. You can order a Think Green From Home Dry Cell Battery Recycling Kit from Waste Management. The kit is actually just a box that you fill with your used batteries. After you fill the box, use the pre-paid return shipping label to send it away for safe recycling.

Forget About Those Pizza Boxes

Pizza boxes are made from cardboard, and cardboard is recyclable, so you head for your nearest recycling bin whenever you have a pizza party. Not so fast. Pizza boxes are nearly always tainted with food and grease, which are real headaches for recycling plants.

“The oil causes great problems for the quality of the paper, especially the binding of the fibers,” Phoenix solid waste administrative analyst Terry Gellenbeck told Earth911. “It puts in contaminants, so when they do squeeze the water out, it has spots and holes.”

Now that you know what you can and can’t recycle, gather up the right waste and properly recycle it. The United States generates 40 percent of the world’s waste, more than any other nation on the planet. Recycling helps us put much of that waste to good use and we all have a part to play.