It’s that time of year again when parents see the light at the end of the summer tunnel, and the first day of school looms over kids’ heads. It is also the time of year when back to school shopping consumes family shopping trips. It is so important to the present and future health of the natural world that the choices parents make when purchasing school supplies are done with the environment in mind. This means choosing products that are made from recycled materials, take less energy to make and produce less waste.
It is estimated that American children produce over 65 pounds of lunch packaging waste every year. This waste comes in the form of plastic sandwich bags, paper bags, chip bags, yogurt cups, and juice boxes.
- Find a reusable lunch bag or lunch box, instead of using a brown paper bag.
- Purchase a wrap-n-mat or a reusable sandwich container that can be cleaned and used daily, instead of using plastic sandwich bags.
- Pack drinks in a thermos, BPA-free plastic or stainless steel water bottle, instead of packing juice boxes.
- If your child needs cutlery, pack the real thing or To-Go Ware made from bamboo, instead of packing plastic silverware.
- Buy snacks in bulk and pack them in reusable snack packs or Tupperware, instead of purchasing prepackaged foods, such as bags of chips, pudding packs or yogurt.
All office and school supplies--from backpacks to pencils to staplers to notebooks and binders--have “greener” versions. Most office supply stores now mark their merchandise that is considered eco-friendly with a recycle symbol or with various shades of green.
If your child is in need of a new backpack try and find one made from organic cotton, recycled, upcycled or reclaimed materials, instead of conventional materials that take a lot of natural resources to produce.
Look for pens, rulers, binders and scissors made from recycled plastic, instead of buying supplies made from virgin plastic, which takes a lot of energy and petroleum to produce.
Purchase pencils and notebooks made from recycled paper, instead of those made from unmanaged forests.
Pick up an Eco Staple which cuts out a tiny strip of paper and uses it to “stitch” paper together, instead of a conventional stapler that uses metal staples, consuming resources and producing waste.