Whether or not school is your child’s favorite place to be, I’ll bet he or she greatly looks forward to back to school shopping. Where does this shopping fit in when you’re trying desperately to leave as small a carbon footprint as possible in your everyday life? Luckily enough, there are quite a few options for eco friendly school supplies.
Here’s a list of ten possibilities to get your child ready for school in a more environmentally conscious way–whether it be for class activities, for recreation, or for lunch.
1. Reusable lunchbox – Many people still use plain old brown paper bags for their or their kids’ lunches. Why waste so much paper? Go for reusable metallic lunch boxes. Or try cloth lunch bags with insulation, which can even be machine washed for more convenience.
2. Cloth napkins – Inexpensive cloth napkins can be easily hand-washed every day when your child gets home, or once a week in the washing machine, and they certainly save on waste, thus proving to be a more eco friendly option than using the readily available (and easily wasted) paper napkins found everywhere.
3. Reusable spork (spoon+fork) plus knife combo – Pack your child a single reusable utensil for lunch—a spork with a (child-safe, dull) knife on one end. Everything he or she could possibly eat at school lunch without resorting to throw-away plastic utensils. But even if it’s plastic, it’s still just one object instead of two or three.
4. Reusable sandwich bags – An alternative to plastic sandwich baggies that you only use one time, reusable sandwich bags are often made of cloth, coated with a food-grade wax that keeps moisture in and bacteria out. They are often even dishwasher and washing machine safe, allowing for easy cleaning.
5. Glue alternatives – Many alternatives exist to the traditional glue stick or glue bottle. You can get glue paste made of potato starch (and without the harmful chemicals.) You can also search for homemade glue recipes online, and bottle your creation in a recycled container.
6. Reusable consumer goods – Consumer goods that were already common in a school setting, such as drink pouches, can be modified into recycled school supplies, like pencil cases. Get creative with the possibilities of what can be reused!
7. Recycled scissors – These can come in safety or regular types, and the handles come from post-consumer plastic. Now if one could only find scissors made of recycled metal…
8. Homemade notebooks - It seems like almost every family gets junk mail in the form of unnecessary coupons, credit card offers, and other paper that we just end up throwing away or recycling. With a sturdy blender and some other basic tools, however, you can create homemade paper out of unnecessary documents, and even go so far as to bind it with string. Your child can help decorate the cover, and have the coolest notebook in school.
9. Solar powered backpack – If your family is tech savvy, a solar powered backpack can charge your child’s electronic gadgets as he or she plays outside, or walks to school. It’s a great energy-saving option.
10. Hand-me-downs – This seems like too simple and plain of a solution, but it’s a great one. I know adults who never used up that whole big box of crayons they got before kindergarten. Surely older kids have school supplies, in decent condition, which they no longer need.
What other things can you think of that could be used as eco friendly school supplies?
Want to know more?