Going Green. What does “going green” really mean? To some, it is a trend that sounds good. To others it is a lifestyle that sounds amazing in theory, but not hardly convenient enough to practice regularly. And to an even smaller set of individuals, it is a conscious way of living backed by a much deeper meaning. As I have begun to walk the path of becoming a more eco-friendly family these last few months, I have given much thought to what this really means and how to more easily implement it into my life, specifically with having a green school year.
Back To School time is the perfect opportunity to think and reflect on ways to make this school year a much more eco-friendly one.
I find that in this day and age of social media and blogging, it is easy to come across ideas of lifestyles you want to live – but it is quite another to execute those ideas. With that in mind, I have been in search of simple changes that a family can make that will have impact without much effort at all. Pick one, two, or all – but I encourage you to make a concentrated effort to have a green school year!
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Recycle School Papers
I don’t know about you, but my children come home with no less than 10 drawings or papers each day from school. When you add that up we are talking 50 papers (or more) per week! To combat the paper mess keep a small recycling container next to where you store backpacks and then as you go through your child’s papers each day just place anything you don’t need to keep straight into the bin! (Assuming there’s nothing non-recyclable glued onto it like macaroni, plastic gems, etc.) At the end of the week empty the bin into your curbside recycling receptacle.
But what about all of those precious drawings? Take photos of any artwork you want to remember but don’t necessarily want to keep and turn those photos into a photo book once you have a certain amount. Let your child know that you will then recycle the so new paper can be made and thus they can create more artwork!
Reusable Sandwich and Snack Bags
Plastic snack bags are quite literally my nemesis. I feel so wasteful every single time I use one and my girls love to grab them out of the cabinet and use them often. I absolutely love the convenience of the plastic baggie, but I no longer can get behind the environmental waste that these bags contribute to.
If you feel the same, purchase a reusable snack bag that you can wash and reuse when it becomes dirty. There are also companies that make kraft paper snack bags which can be composted. I personally love Lunchskins and my girls love their designs.
Stainless Steel Water Bottle
Instead of sending a disposable water bottle or juicebox to school everyday, how about a good quality stainless steel water bottle? Yes, these can be a bit pricier but I can tell you that these things last years! No more buying new water bottles every year, a nice stainless steel one can last for many a green school year. Plus, the bonus of keeping water cooler much longer than a plastic one!
Purchase School Supplies Made With Recycled Materials
This is an easy one that I am confident everyone can do. Try buying supplies this year that has limited (or at least recyclable) packaging and uses recycled materials. Target has a line called Green Room that has recycled notebooks and binders, and many notebooks these days use recycled paper so just keep your eyes peeled!
Purchase Lunch Items in Bulk To Reduce Plastic Packaging
Instead of purchasing weekly snack items that come pre-packaged, buy a large bulk container and make your own “packages” using the reusable snack bags that we talked about earlier! Plus, utilizing this method means less trips to the store – win, win!
Consignment For Green School Year Back To School Clothes
Nowadays it’s actually quite easy and convenient to shop for consignment clothes. Gone are the days of weeding through thrift stores and consignment stores; many cities have boutiques either online or through social media. Google “consignment kids clothes + your city” to see what options you have in your area. You can always shop through mom groups on Facebook or Offer Up.
Another great site is Thred Up. I have shopped this site often and what I love about it is that they have strict guidelines about the clothes that they will accept, you can easily search by brand and size, and they will often times have many items that are new with tags!
Buy A Good Quality Backpack
Just like the stainless steel water bottle, investing in a good quality backpack means only buying one that will last years as opposed to buying a new one each year. Every so often you can wash the backpack in the washing machine and it will look brand new if the material is high quality! Pottery Barn Kids and LL Bean are both known for their great quality, nice selection of designs, and everlasting wear!
I hope you have found a few ideas that will work for you and your family to have a green school year!