Photo Courtesy of Jack Ingle
Back-to-school time is here and we know that kids look forward to purchasing supplies for the new school year almost as much as we look forward to them returning to school. We also know that school supplies can result in a lot of waste each year. For example, Americans throw away about 1.6 billion– yes billion - pens a year, not to mention the plastic, toxins, and resources used to produce school supplies in the first place.
If you are like us and are looking for ways to reduce waste and source eco-friendly school supplies for your kids, then you’ve come to the right place! We’ve put together some suggestions for reusable and sustainable products to help outfit your kids in style while also reducing waste.
- Reusable baggies and sandwich wraps. This is an easy place to start making a shift. Consider using Stasher bags in lieu of single-use plastic bags in your kid’s lunch box this year. These silicone bags are endlessly reusable, dishwasher safe, leakproof, and come in a variety of colors and sizes. Beeswax wraps are also a great alternative to plastic bags to wrap your sandwich or snack. These eco-friendly, reusable beeswax food wraps provide a sustainable alternative for plastic-free food storage.
- Bento Boxes. Pack your kid’s lunch in a reusable bento box to limit single-use plastic bags in lunches or check out Planet Box and their selection of eco-friendly, dishwasher safe, stainless steel lunch boxes. My kids have used the same Planet Box for six years and they are still in fantastic condition. They even have magnetic stickers so kids can customize the outside of their lunchbox.
- Composition Books. Not only are these books beautiful and printed with soy ink, the pages are made from 100% recycled materials and the entire book can be recycled when you’re done using it.
- Biodegradable Pens. With 1.6 billion pens getting tossed each year, switching to these biodegradable pens made from corn makes a ton of sense.
- Pencils. Skip the #2 pencils you grew up with and get your kid something cooler, and greener. Sprout Pencils are made of 100 percent natural, sustainable wood, and they also contain a plant-based seed capsule inside. Once the pencil is too short to write with, you can grow flowers. It doesn’t get more green than that.
- Calculator. Go ahead and calculate how much better this corn-based calculator is for planet Earth.
- Ruler. Plastic rulers are notorious for snapping in half but you can solve that issue, and help the planet, with this bamboo ruler.
- Erasers. Let’s face it, we go to school to learn, not to show everyone how smart we already are, which means mistakes are inevitable. These environmentally friendly erasers are made from recycled rubber and can handle even your biggest uh-oh.
- Water Bottle. Ditch the single-use water bottles and grab this double walled, vacuum insulated, BPA and toxin-free water bottle with a straw and lid. Regardless of where you live, hydration is important but if you live at altitude like we do, it’s even more essential!
- Backpacks. What’s back-to-school without a new backpack? Usually eco-friendly accessories are expensive, but this backpack made from paper is the exception. At just $32, this washable bag is made from material that has been responsibly-sourced from managed forests. And, it’s durable, cute, and lightweight.
- Pencil Case. This pencil case isn’t just super cute, it’s also gentle on the planet. It’s made of 100 percent organic cotton, is Fair Trade certified and Carbon Neutral, and comes in a variety of colors. Each purchase also supports Feeding America’s campaign to end hunger so you can feel good about where you stash your pens and pencils.
- EyKuver. These affordable and disposable UV protective polyvinyl films are the easiest way to protect your kid’s eyes on the playground if they wear RX glasses. Simply peel the protective film and place the UV “sticker” on their everyday glasses for instant sun and glare protection. At less than $10 for a 3-pack, you can afford to stash them everywhere so your child is never without sun protection for their eyes! EyKuvers cost less than disposable sunglasses and don't take as much energy to produce.
These small back to school items will make a difference in creating a better and more sustainable future for your kiddos and who doesn't want that! If you have some favorite back to school items that others would like like please share them in the comments below.