Jul
28
2011

Green Back to School Shopping

It’s almost back to school time! You’re going to need stuff. How can you balance a green life with back to school shopping? We’ve got some tips for you. Don’t worry – it’s easy.

Make a list.

Before you start your back to school shop, plan out what you really need. Do you have to have a new backpack? If it’s not too worn, don’t buy another. Do you really need a new lunchbox? Just because it is on the back to school list, it doesn’t mean you have to buy a new one. Reuse your old things as much as possible. Make a list and stick to it.

What are you writing with?

Try to buy greener choices in pens and pencils. Mechanical pencils are refillable, and are a better bet for the environment than the plain old number 2 kind. You (or your children) may need one small pack of regular yellow pencils for testing, but the bulk of your work can be done with the refillable kind. Go for refillable pens whenever possible, as well.

Watch your paper use.

On average, k-12 schools throw away enough paper to total about 750 trees a semester. If you have kids, you’re probably not going to be able to go paperless. It’s just a fact of school life. Most teachers won’t let them email their homework. Ditto for taking notes with a laptop or electronic notebook. That doesn’t mean you can’t take steps to cut down on your child’s paper consumption. Use both sides of the paper when you can and re-use everything that you can. Recycle all of it when you’re done.

If you’re in college, however, you can probably go almost paperless. When you can’t – use post consumer recycled paper. Make sure it’s processed chlorine free. Same rules go for using and re-using paper.

Buy in bulk

Especially when you have multiple children or you know you’ll be in school at least another year, buy products in bulk. Buy school supplies in larger quantities such as paper, pencils, and pens. But be careful what you’re buying in large amounts – if you’re not going to use it often, buying large quantities can be a waste of money.

Do you have any green tips for back to school? Let me know on twitter, facebook, or leave me a message here on the blog.

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