school classroom with teachers desk and blackboard

It’s back to school season again and while parents everywhere are quietly humming to themselves “it’s the most wonderful time of the year” kids are making the most out of their last days of summer.

It’s a busy time of year but that doesn’t mean that parents and kids can’t be environmentally conscious when it comes to heading back to school. Here are a few stress-less ways how to do so:

Buy Supplies Made From Recyclable Material

If you do have to buy new supplies there are lots of sustainable options out there for you. Look for markers, crayons and pencils made from recycled materials, pens that can be refilled and eco-friendly paper.

Buy Green or Used Back to School Clothes

Thrift stores are a great place to find cheap, used clothes. Many thrift stores have high quality clothes for sale but some people still might be put off by buying clothes worn by somebody else. Luckily for them some retailer’s (American Apparel, H&M, and Maggie’s Organics) offer high quality clothes made from organic cottons and bamboo – much more sustainable materials.

Or you can go a step further and buy clothes made from recycled plastic bottles.

Use a Lunch Bag, Reusable Containers and Water Bottles

Gone are the days of your kids taking lunch to school in paper bags. Buying a lunch bag is definitely the way to go but avoid ones made from vinyl – these lunchboxes contain high amounts of lead – probably not the best thing to put your child’s lunch in.

Luckily for the eco–conscious parent there are PVC-free options out there. You can always go one better pick one up made from organic cotton or make one from recycled juice pouches.

Make lunches that are completely litter free – use re-sealable containers and water bottles for food and drinks, a much better alternative than plastic wrap, sandwich bags and water bottles!

Two Feet and a Heartbeat – The Greenest Way to get to School

Don’t you want your kids to have their own “I walked X miles to school in snow, uphill both ways” stories to pass on to their kids? Well, maybe not so much, but walking or biking to school is the greenest way to get to school. Taking a bus is the next best option, followed by a carpool. 

Avoid the “Obsolete Tech” Trap

For a lot of kids today it’s now mandatory for them to have a laptop or some access to the internet when it comes to their education. The electronics can get a little out of hand – does your youngster really need a phone, laptop, AND a tablet?

Children are often driven to consume faster (being susceptible to pushy marketing campaigns), their new electronics will feel obsolete to them if not by Christmas then definitely by the next school year. Don’t fall into this trap! E-waste is really bad for the environment; make it last for a few years before upgrading!

Reuse “Old” School Supplies

School supplies don’t come with an expiry date!

Having to buy new clothes, pens, pencils, binders, etc., every year is ridiculous and an environmental nightmare! Look through your “old” school supplies and see what actually needs to be replaced, more often than not – sparing some pencils, crayons, or markers  – almost everything from the previous year is probably still in perfect working condition.

Once you get your family into the back to school routine, make a habit of following these tips – you’ll be surprised at how easy it is to go green!