Green Tips for Back To School

As kids go back to school it’s a perfect time to put the planet’s most important three Rs into practice: reduce, reuse, and recycle. 

As kids go back to school it’s a perfect time to put the planet’s most important three Rs into practice: reduce, reuse, and recycle. Example — in the U.S. alone, six billion pens are thrown away every year! Consider the following tips for back to school shopping.

1.       Take Inventory & Avoid Duplicates.  Just because it’s a new year doesn’t mean you have to buy new supplies. Take a careful inventory of what you already have that can be used again. Chances are you have some extra pencils and ruled paper lying around in a draw somewhere. Also, avoid impulse buys and stick to the list you’ve made before you go to the store. You’ll save money and resources, too.

 2.       Don’t be a Paper Pusher. Buy products with the highest percentage of post-consumer recycled content possible and that is processed chlorine-free. Use these products to their maximum efficiency by printing on both sides of the paper, using paper already printed on one side for drafts, and filling notebooks from cover to cover before purchasing a new one. And it never hurts to ask teachers if you can email in your work.

 3.       Think Outside the Lunch Box. Instead of brown-bagging your kids’ lunches, opt for a reusable, washable lunch box. Invest in a PVC-free, thermally insulated lunch bag, one made from recycled materials, or from organic cotton. Instead of using baggies and plastic wrap for sandwiches and snacks, use reusable storage pockets that are easy to clean and use again. For beverages, instead of sending your kid with bottled water, choose a BPA-free reusable canteen.

 4.     Opt for Alternative Forms of Transportation. Try walking to school with your family. It’s a great way to spend some extra time with your kids. Plus you get some exercise and cut down on emissions from driving yourself. If you don’t live close enough to walk, riding your bike can be a great alternative. Make sure to stay safe and look up a safe bike route to school. Even though most school buses get single-digit miles per gallon, they can hold upwards of 60 or 70 youngsters, making them a cleaner option than single-occupancy cars.