Everyone is getting on the GREEN bandwagon and I’m the first to applaud this initiative. After all, it’s in our best interests to reduce waste and decrease our dependence on scarce natural resources. With back to school on everyone’s mind, I’ve put together a list of eco-friendly school supplies to help parents with going green this school year.
Whether your school starts in August or September, here are some green school supply shopping tips to help you make more eco-friendly choices. I have been out shopping around to see what is new in the way of green school supplies and where you can find them. I made a few trips to grocery stores in my area and I found very limited eco-friendly school supplies there. Places like Target and Walmart had more green school supply options and of course, I found many more green school supplies on line. Here are my top recommendations for eco-friendly school supplies.
Eco Friendly School Supplies Shopping Tips
There are many eco-friendly types of paper that you can use- recycled paper and tree-free papers such as mango, banana, and sugar cane. These eco-friendly papers come in printing reams, loose leaf paper, and in notebooks and notepads. I was pleasantly surprised to find a brand called GreenRoom at Target that was made out of 60-70% recycled fiber and printed with nontoxic soy-based ink available in many sizes of notebooks and notepads. Purchasing recycled paper products helps keep waste out of landfills, uses less energy and saves some trees! You can find recycled loose leaf paper at schoolspecialty.com
Pens and Pencils
There are lots of green pen options these days- recycled paper pens, recycled plastic pens, corn bio plastic pens, and even bamboo pens. If you are looking for an in store purchase, you can find Paper Mate biodegradable ball pens at the Office Depot and Paper Mate recycled pens at Staples and OfficeMax. There are also lot of options available for eco-friendly pencils- from recycled paper to to reclaimed wood. EarthWrite is the PaperMate brand of reclaimed wood pencils that is available at most office supply stores.
Crayons, Colored Pencils, and Markers
Companies such as Crayola and Faber Castell are making eco-friendly art supplies mainstream. When you purchase a box of crayons, look for the little label that says “made with solar energy”. Markers made with recycled plastics keep hundreds of tons of plastic out of the landfills each year. When buying colored pencils look for those made with recycled newspaper or re-forested wood.
As an alternative to plastic binders, some companies make their binders with FSC certified 100% post consumer waste board. I also saw GreenRoom binders at target made from recycled materials that looked very sturdy and came in fashionable prints.
Glue and Tape
Eco-friendly Scotch Magic Tape is made from more than 75 percent renewable, plant-based materials. Look for eco-friendly glues like Elmer’s School Glue Naturals made from plants a rapidly renewable resource with packaging that is 25% post-consumer recycled plastic printed with soy inks. Both of those products should be available at office supply stores like Staples.
Backpacks,Pencil Cases, and Lunch Boxes
Look for eco-friendly fabric options which may include natural cotton or made from recycled plastics. They packs should be BPA- and phthalate-free.
The more green products we purchase, the more green products will be produced and carried on store shelves. What is your favorite eco-friendly school supplies?
More Tips For Going Green At School This Year
If you are wondering, “How can I help my school go green?” Well, it starts with you. Here are several suggestions to make sure you are helping your child go green at school.
Reduce School Lunch Waste
An obvious way to reduce waste is to send packed lunches in re-useable containers. When I used to teach, the mountains of garbage in the lunchroom always appalled me.
Label School Supplies
Another way of going green this school year is to label your school supplies. It saves having to re-buy school supplies and clothing if your child’s misplaced items get returned to you. I highly recommend Mabel’s Labels, www.mabel.ca, as a great product (the labels actually stick and stay stuck!).
Buy Used Textbooks
It will save you a ton of money because used books sell for 50% of the original cost but, more importantly, re-using products reduces the amount of stuff that ends up in our landfill sites. Encourage teachers NOT to re-order the latest edition of textbooks each year. Usually, there are only minor changes with each new edition so the only people benefitting from this practice are the book publishers.
Reduce Paper Use
Going green this school year should involve using both sides of the paper. Look for recycled paper options too. Also, ask if your children can submit their homework via email or portable USB drive in order to help reduce the paper trail.
Ride A Bike Or Walk To School
Encourage your child to ride their bike or walk to school and make sure they lock it up properly when they get there. Unless they have a huge project to hand in, there’s no reason to drive them to school. Even on rainy days, kids won’t melt in the rain. Snow is also not a good excuse for driving because it’s even more fun to walk home on a snowy day. It may take longer to get home because of the snowball fights and snow angels but who cares! What’s the rush when you’re a kid? Please make sure your child always wears their safety helmet when riding their bike.
Help Your Child’s School Go Green
If you are doing all those things to go green at school, then you might want to ask the office and/or your child’s teacher if there are any ways to help your school go green. They may need help lining up the recycling options or makings sure that every class has a bin. Alternatively, you can start your own school recycling project in conjunction with Terracycle.
Do you have anything else you’d like to add to my going green this school year list? We would love to hear from you with your suggestions and comments! Tag us @familyfocusblog!