Back to School the Green Way


Ah Fall, crisp, cool air and new beginnings. It’s sad to see summer come to an end, but it’s exciting too getting ready for back to school – new pencils and pens, fresh, clean notebooks, new binders and folders, a stylish new outfit for the first day of school.  Buying everything new however, can be wasteful and expensive.  There are greener ways to get ready for school.  Below are some ideas….

2 woodless graphite pencils in plastic sheaths...

  • Reuse last year’s unfinished notebooks; tear out and recycle the used papers and it’s as good as new.   If you need new ones, buy notebooks with recycled paper or paper made from natural fibers like banana or coffee.
  • If last year’s binders aren’t in good shape, buy those made from postconsumer waste and water-based glue.  Fill them with recycled binder paper.
  • Reuse last year’s pencils and pens; if you need more, opt for pencils made from reforested wood or recycled newspapers. For young elementary age kids, get nontoxic, phthalate-free crayons.
  • For older students, be ahead of the curve and try a solar-powered bamboo calculator.
  • Fun, eco-chic backpacks made from 100% recycled cotton canvas orother recycled materials and messenger bags made from recycled rice sacks with printed graphics are the new look.  They are a lot more environmentally friendly than the traditional polyester or nylon ones.
  • Pack a healthy lunch in a recyclable lunch bag; buy bulk size wholesome snacks and put them in reusable containers rather than snack-size, throwaway plastic baggies. A piece of fruit is the most beneficial snack option.
  • Walk, carpool or take a bus to school to cut down on carbon emissions.
  • For after school sports, don’t forget your BPA-free, reusable water bottle.

It’s never too early to introduce children to green habits.  In fact, it’s the best time to do so.  Products are available at Staples, Office Max and on-line.

Some information compiled from Whole Living, September 2012 and Natural Living, September/October 2012.

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4 responses to this post.

  1. Excellent tips as usual. I just went through our stash of school supplies. WE have more pens and pencils than we will need fora while! Also found highlighters, notebook and paper. We may be all set after “shopping” in the basement.

    Reply

    • Good way to put it. I used to be so frustrated with the mountains of pens, pencils and partially used notebooks. There is so much back to school marketing, but really most people don’t need to buy much. Thanks for commenting. Hope your back to school goes well!

      Reply

  2. These are great tips, Betsy. As a professional organizer, I often use the term “shopping at home” with my clients, as we all have more than we realize without hitting the stores.

    I like the recycled newspaper pencils, but I’ve not seen the backpacks. What a great idea. We are seeing more and more of these reclaimed materials put to good use.

    Reply

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