5 Tips to Keep Your Back to School Shopping Eco-Friendly
Posted on Monday, July 15th, 2013 at 8:00 am
Concerned about how your back to school shopping impacts the Earth? Paper, notebooks, bags and plastic pens, markers and more are traditionally made with ingredients that either harm the environment in the manufacturing process, or that never biodegrade in landfills. Luckily, there are several ways you can keep your back to school shopping green and eco-friendly. You might even save a few bucks in the process!
How to Choose Green Back to School Supplies
Backpacks and Bags
No matter what age or grade level, every kid needs a good bag to carry around all of his/her school supplies. Many commercial backpacks are made with nylon and other synthetic fabrics. Consider shopping for bags made from hemp, organic cotton, or other organic materials. You can also check out thrift stores and reuse a bag someone has donated. You might be surprised to find a next-to-new bag. Older kids might enjoy buying a used bag and decorating with pins, puff paint, rhinestones, and more.
There are also tons of great tutorials online for making a bag on your own out of unused material scraps, old jeans, and more!
Many easy-to-find companies offer notebooks, binders, and printer paper made out of recycled content. These should be easy to find in popular stores like Target, Walmart and most of your office supply stores. Post-It also makes a version of their popular sticky notes made from recycled materials.
Pens, Pencils, Markers and Highlighters
Just like with paper, you can buy writing utensils made from recycled materials. For pens, buy a brand or variety that offers re-fillable ink. Mechanical pencils can be refilled with lead when it runs out. This prevents you from needing to replace the plastic parts. You can also find bio-degradable products online through companies like Grassroots.
Most of your commercial, popular crayon companies use petroleum to craft their crayons. Instead, buy some crayons made from soy, which is completely biodegradable. Prang offers a box of 8 soy crayons for only $1!
Many companies offer lunchboxes free from PVC and phthalates. Look for stainless steel lunchboxes, which are not only great, but will probably last you forever.
Remember, things like disposable lunch bags and plastic sandwich bags are wasteful. In addition to a reusable lunch bag or box, look for reusable snack and sandwich bags. Still want to use the plastic store bought bags, have your kids save them and bring home. You can rinse them out and reuse them again until they fall apart.
What measures will you be taking to keep school shopping “green?”