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A Better Way to go Back to School!

August 23, 2019
By: Mara Pyzel

The start of a new school year marks a new beginning and a new opportunity to make this year the least wasteful yet! Those supply lists and back-to-school needs can feel overwhelming and lead to stressful shopping - especially when you are trying to be mindful about your purchases. The good news is that small changes can have a huge impact. 

This school year, get educated on the many ways you can be as plastic free as possible!

School Lunch
Ditch the plastic bags and cellophane wrap for washable to-go containers. Sometimes glass isn't the safest (or lightest) option when trekking to and from school. Check out Planet Box's metal containers and lunch box compartments. Preserve meets all your carton size needs and their reusable products are made from recycled plastic. 

Eating school lunch today? Make sure you have a reusable spork or utensil set stashed in your backpack to reach for before grabbing lunch in the cafeteria or during class parties. 

Classroom Celebrations
Speaking of class parties… have you checked out our classroom celebration kit ideas? There's bound to be a few birthday and holiday parties over the course of the school year. If you are an educator or class parent, refer to our Waste Free Classroom Celebration guide for fresh ideas to keep your party waste free. Ideas range from washable napkins to water refill stations and encourage classrooms to have a set of non-breakable cups and plates to keep the single-use versions out of the landfill.

Classroom Supplies
That supplies list can endless and if you are trying to be mindful about your consumption, it can be extra intimidating. Don’t let it scare you off - donate classroom supplies with awareness. Instead of paper towels, donate shammies. When it comes to hand soaps and sanitizer, purchase from trusted brands that are gentle on little hands as well as made from a percentage of recycled plastic. An alternative is to buy refills. Hand soaps and cleaning supplies can usually be purchased in refill form. The price is typically similar (if not cheaper than a new bottle) and it is generally a greater quantity per container - making both your teacher and the environment happy!

Back to school shopping can also be made earth-friendly. Hand-me-downs and clothing swaps are a great way to save money and reuse! Before you even set foot out the door, look at your left-overs from last year - chances are you already have many of the items on your list. Reusing items like pencil sharpeners, large erasers, and red and green correction pens lets you save some green while going green.

Sharing is Caring
Go back-to-school shopping with friends so you can carpool. You can also go “halfsies” on supplies like whiteboard markers, paper towels, and pencils that come packaged with more than is required on your list. While shopping, remember to bring your reusable bags! (Remind your friends to do the same!) 

So don't let the school supply list scare you. Instead, kick off the year with waste-free confidence that will earn you an A+ with the environment!

Get more ideas from our resource sheets