This year, more than 79 million children and adults will venture back to school, and from books to transportation to supplies and more, getting ready for back-to-school will a flurry of planning and activity.
But with back-to-school planning comes choices on how you and your kids can be more environmentally friendly--and with good reason: from school lunch alone, the average student generates 67 pounds of waste each year!
Consider these small changes for a green back-to-school routine as you or your kids gear up for another academic year to make a positive impact on the environment:
Choosing eco-friendly school supplies is a great way to reduce your ecological footprint. Buy products made from recycled materials or opt for items that are easily biodegradable or compostable. For example, recycled paper notebooks and FSC-certified wooden pencils are excellent choices. Additionally, consider reusing last year's items if they're still in good condition.
Pack Eco-Friendly Lunches
Packaging waste from from food contributes to environmental pollution. Opt for reusable lunch containers, water bottles, and utensils instead of single-use plastic alternatives. This small change can significantly reduce plastic waste and promote sustainable living. As for food, collaborate with you kids to pack a lunch that's healthy and sustains them throughout the day but doesn't lead to food waste.
Walk, Bike, or Carpool
Reducing your or your children’s carbon footprints starts with choosing sustainable transportation options. Consider walking or biking to school to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote personal health. If walking or biking isn't feasible, put your kids on the school bus or consider carpooling with fellow students.
Clothing and Backpacks
When purchasing clothing, backpacks or any back-to-school essentials, opt for products from made with eco-friendly materials from ethical brands. Look for certifications such as Fair Trade, Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) to ensure your purchases meet stringent sustainability standards.
Reduce Energy Consumption
Save energy both at home and at school by adopting simple practices like turning off lights, electronics, and appliances when not in use. Encourage schools to adopt energy-efficient practices, such as using LED lighting and optimizing heating and cooling systems to reduce overall energy consumption.
Rent or Buy Used Textbooks
Textbooks can be expensive and often end up unused after the semester ends. Consider renting textbooks or purchasing used ones to save money and reduce demand for new books. Alternatively, using an electronic device like a computer or tablet to access online textbooks and take notes will reduce your paper usage.
These ideas taken collectively can generate a positive ripple effect that extends beyond the school campus and into the broader community. Create a greener back-to-school routine that benefits both our planet and future generations.