School shopping CAN be eco-friendly. Here are some suggestions to be green this year (and the next and the next)...
- If it has to be new, at least know the eco-ethics of the company you are purchasing from. A little Google work can do the trick. Choose companies with high green goals.
- Look for items that are durable and can be used next year, and the year after. Stop the insanity of disposables (ugh, disposables).
- Go with recycled paper: look for high percentages of post-consumer waste when buying notebooks, binder paper, planners, etc.
- Skip the plastic when non-plastic is an option.
- Many brand names have online coupons
- Of course buying second hand is more eco-friendly than buying new, and I totally know that most kids think second hand is lame. But teaching them how to shop for great finds will hopefully open their eyes.
- Encourage your school board to convert their diesel buses to be green. Encourage your kids to ride the bus, walk or bike. If your high school aged students really desperately want to drive themselves, require them to carpool with other neighborhood students.
- Check out my Green Your Office entry for more mint green suggestions.
- To pack a lunch, use a reusable container rather than the traditional brown paper bag. For sandwiches, ditch those disposable plastic baggies and switch over to reusable containers like Tupperware or, even better, to alternatives like the Wrap-n-Mat which serves as a reusable sandwich wrap and placemat in one. And use a thermos instead of individually packaged juice boxes!
Here's some groovy must haves for school (photos are links to sites):
Skip the plastic by buying a reusable water bottle.
"In 2006, Americans drank about 167 bottles of water each, but only recycled an average of 23 percent. That leaves 38 billion water bottles in landfills. Bottled water costs between $1 and $4 per gallon and 90 percent of the cost is in the bottle, lid and label. It takes over 1.5 million barrels of oil to manufacture a year’s supply of bottled water. That’s enough oil to fuel 100,000 cars. "
Recycled Cotton Reusable Bagste