Environmentalism has been an issue that is near and dear to college students’ hearts for decades. Unfortunately, part of the college experience is also rooted in waste.

Every year – sometimes every semester or quarter – we go out and buy new books, binders and tons of other items that will be abused and abandoned by the time finals are through. This often means that large stacks of binders with broken rings and other school supplies end up in the trash cans of even the most fervent recyclers.

In an effort to combat this cycle of manufacturing and waste, UniKeep (unikeep.com) has released a line of binders for the friends of the environment. These binders make sure to stay as protective of the environment at every level. Even the paper inserts are made from 100 percent post-consumer reclaimed materials, and the ink is all soy-based.

On a practical level, perhaps the best thing about these all-plastic binders is that the traditional, hand-killing metal rings have been replaced by far easier to open plastic rings. The design has also been modified from an open triangle to a rectangular cube with a latch, making them safer, easier to stack on your desk and more resistance to spilled Red Bulls.

This line of binders also includes some cool CD and DVD binders. Like their larger counterparts, these rectangular plastic protectors come with a latch and a hard shell that should protect your music, movies and games far better than a cloth or canvas CD wallet.

Granted, the cost is slightly higher than comparable binders, but the added protection of a hard plastic case that fully encloses your disks and papers may be worth the extra cash. Plus, you get the pride of doing something good for the environment.