Free School Supplies!

Nothing grabs a teacher’s attention faster than those three words…except maybe, “Two hour delay!”

I don’t work for Staples.  I promise.  But over the last few years, I’ve become very fond of the deals they provide for educators.  If you’re not familiar with them, cruise on over to this page for a quick overview.


One part of their great reward program for teachers that I take the most advantage of is their ink recycling program.  For every ink cartridge you take in (up to ten per month), Staples will cut you a check to use at Staples the next month for $2.00/cartridge.  If you’re a language arts teacher like me by heart, you’re grabbing a pencil and paper and in just a second you’ll realize that you can get $20.00 every month!

Each year, I label an old coffee container (I’m pretty sure they were God’s “On the Eighth Day” Gift to us!) as “INK” and stick it in the back of the room.  Throughout the year, students bring in used (and sometimes new (I have a “Don’t Ask; Don’t Tell Policy”!)) ink cartridges and stick them in the container.

I take a little time at the beginning of the year to explain the  the program to the kids and try to take time to praise students who contribute to the Tub O’ Ink.  I also explain the program on my “Classroom Wishlist” page on the “For Parents” page of my classroom website.  Parents are happy to contribute…especially when it is no cost to them!

A few tips:

  • They count each individual cartridge, so if a printer has three sepearate color cartridges, they each count as one!
  • They accept toner cartridges from laser printers or copy machines!  Talk to your administrative assistants or tech. department about sending you empty cartridges.  Even small districts go through tons of those each year!
  • If I remember correctly, each check is good for two months, so you can stack two checks and have $40.00 to spend on a shopping spree school supply restock!
  • Once you get a teacher account, you don’t have to carry another shopper card.  Just give them your phone number at the register.

Staples also has great back to school specials for teachers.  Historically, they’ve had penny deals on certain supplies.  While the limit is typically two for common folk, teachers are given a limit of 25.  That’s right.  I get (25) 100-count packs of notebook paper, or (25) 10-pencil packs, or (25) pocket folders, or (25) single-subject spiral notebooks…for just 25 cents! Last year they started a “with minimum $5.00 purchase” rule.  (But if you use your ink rewards check…!)  This year, there appear to be more five cent deals than penny deals.  The deals change each week so check the flyers!

One last note.  Please take just a moment to tell Staples, “Thank you!”  It is great to feel both respected and honored by the business world.  The office supply market is extremely competitive.  Staples gets my vote!

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  1. Pingback: Teacher Needs & Creative Ideas for Room Parents to Help | RoomMomSpot

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