It’s almost that time of year where young children, teens, and college students alike are preparing to head back to school. So just how can we or our kids be as green as possible as we gear up for another school year? With sustainable back to school supplies, of course! To help you with preparations for the school year, we’ve come up with some tips for back to school sustainability.
How Can We Be Sustainable at Home and School?
Whether heading to first grade or a final year of graduate school, how can a student live more sustainably? Many of the best practices for our planet can be applied at both home and school. And it all starts with the three R’s we all know and love (plus an additional one for good measure):
Reduce: There’s an undeniable excitement that comes with shopping for back to school essentials. Often, many children are influenced by what’s deemed “cool” by their peers. Any parent knows how tiring it can be to keep up with ever-changing clothes, electronics, and accessories that are popular within their kids’ age groups!
Use the months before heading back to school to remind your kids that the latest trends are wreaking havoc on our planet. While fashion is a great way for a young person to define themselves, a look at fashion’s impact on people and our planet can help to alter some of their fast fashion habits.
If not, thrift stores and secondhand shopping platforms like Poshmark, Depop, and thredUP are excellent resources for better-for-Earth fashion.
Refuse: Single-use utensils, straws, and cups are a regular part of many students’ lives—especially those in college pulling all-nighters! Between coffee and other drinks and food items from the cafeteria, there are ample opportunities for a student to say “no” to excessive waste.
As an example, consider that Americans use, on average, 1.6 straws per day. This means that someone will use 38,000 between the ages of 5 and 65. Cutting down on this alone can have a huge impact on one’s plastic footprint!
Reuse: While it may be all too tempting to get completely new eco friendly classroom supplies, many of them can be reused from previous years! Vinegar can remove glue and sticker stains from binders and other plastic school supplies, and blank pages of notebooks can be utilized before purchasing a new one.
Recycle: Paper products and schools go hand-in-hand, meaning there’s a lot of room for responsible recycling! With every ton (2,000 pounds) of paper that’s recycled, it saves 17 trees, 4,000 kilowatts of energy, 3 cubic yards of landfill space, and 7,000 gallons of water!
For all of those other hard-to-recycle school supplies (glue bottles, staplers, pens, and paper clips), try a Zero Waste Box from TerraCycle.
As transportation will also play a role in a sustainable school day, it’s important for each student to consider the following: what are the most eco-friendly ways to get to school? Walking or riding a bike are the greenest ways to get to school, but if that isn’t a safe option taking the bus or carpooling can also help to cut down on some of those transportation emissions!
6 Sustainable Back to School Essentials
Now for the fun part of the article: eco friendly school supplies! Most students love stocking up on supplies for the new school year. Fortunately, it’s never been easier to prepare for school in a planet-friendly way.
1. Try Earth-Loving Lunch Supplies
Using a reusable lunch box or silicone sandwich bags is a far better alternative than single-use plastic or paper bags. A bamboo cutlery set will cut out the need for disposable plastic utensils, too.
2. Opt for Plant-Based Glue
Using biodegradable adhesives made out of corn, potato, and wheat, plant-based glue is a non-toxic and sustainable essential for craft projects and more.
3. Use Recycled Paper
From notebooks and printer paper, to sticky notes and flashcards, it’s now easier than ever to get products made with recycled paper!
4. Carry in an Eco-Conscious Way
Modern backpacks not only look cool, but are equipped with features that keep our planet cool, too! Backpacks and Laptop bags made with recycled or natural materials (like hemp or organic cotton) can be found at most retailers. Often, they’re water-resistant and come with laptop sleeves or even chargers!
5. Stay Hydrated, Sustainably
Perfect for hot or cold drinks, a bamboo bottle or stainless steel water bottle are a must-have for any student! Not only will they cut down on the waste associated with single-use bottles and cups, but they’ll keep students safer from bacteria and viruses that can linger on school water fountains and faucets.
For extra peace of mind, a GOpure water filter can filter out dangerous contaminants like nitrites and nitrates, VOCs, and bacteria like E.Coli. Don’t forget a collapsible straw that can be easily clipped onto a backpack or keychain!
6. Use Writing Tools that Save Our World
Between recycled plastic, bamboo, grass, sustainably-sourced wood, and even plantable paper, pens and pencils are more sustainable than they’ve ever been before. As a great alternative to disposable (or losable) plastic, any student can feel good about pens that have a lower impact on our planet. Refillable pens are an even better option.
Gearing Up for a Greener School Year
We hope that this helps you or your little ones in preparing for a return to school that’s more sustainable. As always, Green Eco Dream will be here with our collection of eco-friendly school supplies. They’ll help you go back to school, while keeping our planet cool!
Explore our Back to School collection below and use code BLOG10 to save 10% on your first order.
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