Five Ways to Make Back to School Eco-Friendly
Jeanette “Mama Banana” (Mama Banana’s Adventures)
It’s back to school time, and parents and caregivers are busy preparing for the upcoming school year. This means shopping for school lunches, classroom supplies, and school clothes. While sales and great deals may be a priority, there’s one item that should be on every list: the environment.
When you keep eco-friendly considerations in mind, you can help the environment, reduce waste, and teach your children about ecological responsibility. Here are five practical ways to green your child’s back to school routine.
1. Pack an Eco-Friendly Lunch Box
Using a reusable lunch box is a no brainer for most parents. However, finding other reusable lunch items may be a bit more challenging. Luckily, many products with disposable packaging are easy to replace.
Choose a cool stainless steel bottle over a disposable drink container, replace throwaway snack bags with reusable snack bags. Pack sandwiches is a washable sandwich bag instead of disposable plastic wrap. In addition to saving the planet, you’ll add a unique touch to your child’s lunch box and make it a package he or she will be proud to open at lunch.
2. Reduce Your Paper Use
When I read about the environmental impact of paper, I was shocked. “Worldwide consumption of paper has risen by 400% in the past 40 years,with 35% of harvested trees being used for paper manufacture.” (1)
How can you use less paper for back to school? Look for recycled notebooks and printer paper, use a dry erase board for notes and math side-work, and recycle the paper you do use. In addition, make a conscious effort to waste less paper by making sure to use both sides and covering every square inch when possible.
3. Choose Eco-friendly Back to School Clothing Options
Deciding what clothing to buy at back to school time is a big deal for many families. It’s a great opportunity to choose an eco-friendly brand, shop locally at consignment shops, update older clothing with some tailoring or alterations, or trade with a friend. Your child gets an updated look for back to school without the environmental impact of producing new items, you save money, and they feel good about their outfits. As a mom to four boys, I simply pass clothes down from one child to the next and use the money I save to add to their LEGO collection.
4. Get outside!
Another great way to reduce your carbon footprint is to spend less time inside watching television or using electronic devices. This time of year is a great opportunity to join sports teams, clubs, and other activities that get kids outside and enjoying the fresh air. While my family and I home school, my sons are on our local soccer team. I enjoy getting outside to play just as much as they do! I get exercise, they get exercise, and no one even asks for the tablet.
5. Bee-Friendly Homework
Science and biology are two of my favorite subjects and popular with kids. One great eco-friendly way to enhance these topics is to grow something green at home. Plant a bee-friendly garden, toss in a few milkweed seeds for Monarch butterflies, and help bring their textbook lessons to life. Kids will learn about germination and pollination, the life cycle of plants and insects, and learn a greater appreciation for the environment. It’s a win-win for everyone!
As you’re getting ready to return to school, think about these five ways of making it eco-friendly. Being thoughtful about our purchases today means a better tomorrow for future generations. I hope this list has given you some great ideas!