For kids, that time before the new semester when new books, backpacks and lunchboxes are needed is potentially one of the most exciting parts of the school year. For adults, it can be a complex and stressful logistical operation. According to techdump, the average family spends around $600 each fall on new school supplies. So how can you combine the school’s “three R’s” of reading, writing and ‘rithmetic with that of the planet’s reduce, reuse and recycle, and find it all quickly and affordably?! It might sound like too much to ask, but we’re going to show you it’s doable.
1. If you don’t buy it, you can’t waste it
2. Explain to your children why you’re making greener choices
3. When a purchase is needed, consider purchasing second-hand first
Textbooks can easily be sourced second hand as students who have moved up a grade no longer have a use for them. Ebay and Facebook Marketplace are great places to start your search as well as Amazon Textbook Rentals. For both textbooks and school clothes, schools and colleges will often have an inner network or annual fair where parents can purchase these second hand. This is a brilliant way to reuse and recycle as students move up grades, and it’s also a great money saver!
Reusing and recycling is particularly important for school clothes. One Green Planet finds the fashion industry is the second most polluting industry of all to our planet. When it comes to textbooks, the Environmental Paper Network finds if the US reduces it’s paper consumption annually by just 10%, we could power 228,000 homes, conserve 11 billion gallons of water and prevent carbon emissions equivalent to removing 279,000 cars from the road.
4. When you have to buy new, consider eco-friendly brands and businesses
5. Recycle, Recycle, Recycle
Not only do we need to make eco-friendly purchases but we also need to dispose of used and worn out clothes and plastics in a green way. In the US, 85% of all textiles are thrown into landfill or burned. Many materials can take years or even decades to decompose.
There are even some big-name stores, such as American Eagle Outfitters and Eileen Fisher, that encourage customers to donate their worn and unwanted clothing and give you a reward for doing so.
6. Being green goes beyond back to school
To be an imperfect member of our In This Together Zero-Waste Community, please sign our pledge today to support brands, policies & politicians who are doing their part to make excessive waste a thing of the past.