5 Green Tips For a Sustainable Back to School

5 Green Tips For a Sustainable Back to School

Back to school is almost here so as parents and kids prepare for this exciting period, consider some friendly and sustainable tips that will help to reduce your carbon footprint, with benefits to both households and the planet.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

When it comes to school supplies do we need to buy new or can we reuse supplies from previous years?  Take inventory of notebooks and other school supplies before running off to Staples or Walmart to replenish your stock. How about back packs and lunch containers? Can existing ones be cleaned up and reused?  Rather than throwing away old bags, containers or supplies, consider reusing, repurposing or donating to others in need.


Create Zero Waste Lunches

Single use plastic waste (straws, wrappers, bottles, Ziploc bags, etc) represents a significant amount of the overall waste that is generated in the school system.  This plastic pollution remains in our landfills for hundreds of years and has devastating impacts on our environment. To avoid this pollution, consider sending zero waste alternatives such as reusable utensils, straws, beverage and food containers with your children.


Eliminate Food Waste

 The food that goes uneaten and is thrown away in the school waste management system also ends up in landfills and is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions and climate change.  Consider strategies to minimize food waste such as:

  • Educating kids on the impact of food waste on the environment
  • Working with your children to ensure lunches and snacks are foods that they like, are nutritional and will be eaten
  • Portion controls – managing the amount of food that is sent with your kids each day to reduce the likelihood of uneaten food being thrown away or being brought home
  • Keeping food fresh through the use of sustainable food storage options such as stainless steel containers or beeswax wraps or bags



Consider Second Hand Clothing

 Vintage is in!! Not only are pre-owned clothing alternatives stylish, but they also are more budget friendly than new fashions. Consider thrift stores or online used clothing sites for building the back-to-school wardrobe. As with pre-used school supplies, consider passing on used or outgrown clothing to younger siblings or donating to charitable organizations



Walk or Bike to School

 Schools are a congested environment where buses and parents are waiting in their vehicles to drop off or pick up their children at specified times of the day.  The unnecessary idling of these vehicles produces carbon emissions and is a major contributor to air pollution. With the cost of fuel these days, it is also an opportunity to save a few bucks by considering alternative modes of transportation.

For those that live in close proximity to schools and while weather permits, start the school year off right by walking to school with kids or encouraging them to walk or ride their bikes to school with friends if old enough to do so. Good habits start young!


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