Back to School the Green Way

Ah Fall, crisp, cool air and new beginnings. It’s sad to see summer come to an end, but it’s exciting too getting ready for back to school – new pencils and pens, fresh, clean notebooks, new binders and folders, a stylish new outfit for the first day of school.  Buying everything new however, can be wasteful and expensive.  There are greener ways to get ready for school.  Below are some ideas….

·       Reuse last year’s unfinished notebooks; tear out and recycle the used papers and it’s as good as new.   If you need new ones, buy notebooks with recycled paper or paper made from natural fibers like banana or coffee.  

·       If last year’s binders aren’t in good shape, buy those made from postconsumer waste and water-based glue.  Fill them with recycled binder paper.

·       Reuse last year’s pencils and pens; if you need more, opt for pencils made from reforested wood or recycled newspapers. For young elementary age kids, get nontoxic, phthalate-free crayons. 

·       For older students, be ahead of the curve and try a solar-powered bamboo calculator.

·       Fun, eco-chic backpacks made from 100% recycled cotton canvas or other recycled materials andmessenger bags made from recycled rice sacks with printed graphics are the new look.  They are a lot more environmentally friendly than the traditional polyester or nylon ones.

·       Pack a healthy lunch in a recyclable lunch bag; buy bulk size wholesome snacks and put them in reusable containers rather than snack-size, throwaway plastic baggies. A piece of fruit is the most beneficial snack option.

·       Walk, carpool or take a bus to school to cut down on carbon emissions.

·       For after school sports, don’t forget your BPA-free, reusable water bottle.


It’s never too early to introduce children to green habits.  In fact, it’s the best time to do so.  Products are available at Staples, Office Max and on-line.


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Some information compiled from Whole Living, September 2012 and Natural Living, September/October 2012. welcomes thoughtful comments and the varied opinions of our readers. We are in no way obligated to post or allow comments that our moderators deem inappropriate. We reserve the right to delete comments we perceive as profane, vulgar, threatening, offensive, racially-biased, homophobic, slanderous, hateful or just plain rude. Commenters may not attack or insult other commenters, readers or writers. Commenters who persist in posting inappropriate comments will be banned from commenting on