Eco-friendly back to school tips!
Back to school invariably means buying a whole lot of new things.
Every time I buy something new these days, I try to see if I can’t find a greener, healthier alternative. I figure every little bit helps.
I have a few ideas on how you can lessen your environmental impact at this time of year and be a little bit more green. In most cases, it saves you money as well!
♥ I guess my biggest tip is to encourage kids to take really good care of all their school stuff to extend their life (the stuff, not the kids!) and avoid new purchases. Make do where you can. Buy the best quality products you can afford.
♥ Label everything well (I just use a permanent marker) to avoid losses.
♥ Go through the school stuff from last year and work out what is still in good condition and doesn’t need to be repurchased. Recycle, upcycle or reuse everything you can as well.
♥ Get the kids excited about being an ‘eco-warrior’! You can set a fabulous example to your kids and get them involved in helping out.
♥ Avoid items made with BPA, PVC or anything that says it’s anti-bacterial (this means it usually contains triclosan).
♥ Choose products with minimal packaging. Don’t buy single pencils in plastic packaging – get a pack of 12 in a paper box that can be recycled. Instead of individual pots of yoghurt, buy a big tub and use small, reusable containers or the reusable squeeze pouches.
♥ Public transport, walking, biking and car pooling are all ways you can cut down your environmental impact of getting to school. Even just one day will make a difference.
Let friends with older kids know you are interested in any used uniforms.
Donate your old uniforms back to the school or local opshop.
♥ BACKPACKS AND BAGS
Buy bags that are made of recycled materials or biodegradable materials like cotton, bamboo or hemp. We found a ‘name brand’ backpack at the op shop for less than $10, so check out what your local has to offer!
Consider making your own library bags, swimming bags, sleeping kits, pencil cases, water bottle covers, ipad cases etc from recycled material you already have at home. If you are not so great at sewing, have a look on Esty or Hand Made for some handmade ones.
After many years of making school lunches, I prefer lunchboxes that can be washed in the washing machine or dishwasher! Trust me, smelly lunchboxes are not pleasant or hygienic.
Get some cutlery from the opshop or buy a bamboo spork for lunchboxes – they are cheap and re-usable. If the kids need serviettes, pop a wet washer into the lunchbox rather than using paper ones.
We like using sandwich wraps – they are very sturdy and easily washed. Plus, they are easy to open for little fingers. Check out the 4 My Earth range here.
We also use stainless steel containers for things like salads. Check out my top stainless steel lunchboxes here.
♥ Drink Bottles
Buy stainless steel drink bottles where you can. It saves buying packaged drinks and there is no chance of nasty chemicals leaching into your drinks. Just be careful when choosing as some of the cheaper ‘stainless steel’ drink bottles can contain aluminium. I love the Cheeki brand of water bottles.
Buy recycled products wherever you can! Micador and Tudor are brands that have recycled items.
♥ COVERING BOOKS
Reusable book covers make the job sooooooo much easier and they are super cute! Give them a wipe over and they will last many years. You can get them from your local stationery supplier.
You can also use leftover gift wrap, kid’s artwork, comics from the newspaper or recycled brown paper to cover books. Get the kids to decorate.
♥ TEXT BOOKS
Hire where you can or try websites like Textbook Exchange to get them second-hand.
I would love to hear your top tips for being a greenie at back to school time.