The first environmentally-friendly teaching method for primary schools in Flanders

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The publishing company Uitgeverij Zwijsen is launching a new mathematics teaching method for primary schools. What’s special about this method is that the work books have been produced on recycled waste paper and no CO2 will be emitted during the printing and finishing processes.

In September, Uitgeverij Zwijsen is launching an environmentally-friendly teaching method that gives children a sustainable future, yet also allows them to continue to use paper, which is an important part of mathematics education.

The new mathematics teaching method, zoWISo, achieves this in two ways:

  • CO2-neutral printing process – Our printing partner uses a CO2-neutral printing method, which involves using green energy and compensating for any remaining emissions (e.g. due to transport) with VCS credits.
  • Using 100% recycled paper – School workbooks only have a very short lifespan. Therefore, it’s unnecessary to always use newly felled trees to make them. We have chosen to print zoWISo on Cyclus Offset paper, which is made from 100% recycled paper. Manufacturing Cyclus Offset also requires less water and energy than manufacturing non recycled paper.

Aside from the reduced CO2 emissions, a primary school with 100 pupils also saves 800 kilos of waste paper from landfill and saves 18,000 litres of water as a result of this smart choice.


Why not publish digitally?

A decade ago, we thought that digital learning methods would make paper at schools obsolete and would therefore offer an environmentally-friendly alternative to disposable workbooks. However, we now know that it’s not that simple. Digital methods cost money too and are not as environmentally-friendly as you might think. More importantly, writing offers at least as many cognitive benefits as typing on a keyboard or swiping on a tablet. Ultimately, writing, when combined with complementary digital applications, provides the best learning results.

Bart Vandenbussche, Publishing Director of Zwijsen Belgium:

“We strongly believe that good, flesh-and-blood teachers make all the difference in education. However, they must also have access to the right tools. They need a method that enables them to use the right medium, at the right place, and at the right moment in a child’s cognitive learning process. And for that they need paper. With a good approach, the negative effects on the environment can be avoided. At Zwijsen, we have resolutely chosen the environmentally-friendly route, in spite of the extra financial commitment this requires.”