10 Tips for A Green School Year
The Back to School shopping mania has begun! Mothers are fearlessly roaming the school supply isles in search of the perfect folder while their children shout, "Over here, mom! There's only one Justin Beiber folder left!"
It's okay, I feel your pain. But let's take a step back and think about what we're doing. Here are some tips to help you stay on track with an eco-friendly school year.
1. Reduce. Only buy what your child really needs. I know it's tempting with rows of shiny new school supplies. It is a newly discovered medical condition called Back 2 School Fever. I understand. I too suffer from this condition. As fall nears and it's time to buy school supplies, I become excited about scotch tape! Scotch tape, people!!! The syptoms are easy to recognize if you too suffer from this condition. The remedy? Wait oh so patiently for your child's official back to school list and buy ONLY the things that are in that list.
2. Reuse. If a pencil box or backpack is still in good condition, DO NOT buy new ones. I know this can be tough whenever your child really likes a certain character and there is a product in that character staring you in the face, and your child is going gaga. The solution here is simple; do not take your child to the store with you! Assess what you already have from last year, then make a list of what you really need and stick to it!
3. Recycle. If you do need to buy something new, there is no excuse not to buy recycled anymore. Most products are affordable and are available even at Walmart. I know, most of them are plain or have pictures of leaves or the recycle symbol on them. Sasquatch has a line of eco-friendly notebooks, folders and binders that are stylish, affordable and available at places like Walmart.
7. Swap. Swapping is a great way to save money, buy used and dispose of your own used clothing in a responsible way. You can host your own clothing swap in your community or swap online at sites like http://www.swapbabygoods.com/ and http://www.thredup.com/ .
8. Avoid Toxic Chemicals. My Green Side has a list of safe products and links about chemicals to avoid like PVC. Click here for a guide on avoiding this toxic chemical in back to school supplies.
9. Cut Down on the Gas. If you're child lives near a bus stop, use it! And if your child is in a sports or group activity, make sure you and the other parents are carpooling to events. Even when it's just the parents going to events, like PTA meetings, try to set up a carpool for the parents. You'll help the environment and save on gas!
10. Pack a Green Lunch. Start with an eco-friendly lunch box. Then think about how you can reduce waste. Pack reusable food supplies like refillable drink bottles, reusable food containers, silverware and cloth napkins.