Back to school time is an exciting time for parents and students alike! Making eco-friendly choices can make all the difference when it comes to your student’s education. Here are 8 eco-friendly back to school tips!
Start by talking about it with your kids
School isn’t the only place where they’ll receive an education. As a parent, you have a lot to teach too! Talk to your kids about different environmentally friendly habits and why they’re important. Kids should understand why walking to school is important, why a BPA-free lunchbox will keep them safe, and why it’s important to recycle.
Walk, bus, or bike to school
Driving your kids to school can seem enticing. It gets cold in the winter, so walking and biking to school can become uncomfortable, and depending on how far away you live, it might not even be an option. But driving your kids to school does take a toll on the environment. A vehicle with a fuel efficiency of 20 miles per gallon will emit about 2 pounds of carbon dioxide for every mile driven. It really adds up! If your kids can’t walk or bike to school, ask your school district what bus services might be available for your kids.
Don’t let your car idle
If you do drive your kids to and from school, don’t let your car idle while you wait for them. Idling does produce air pollution, which your kids (and other students) will have to walk through. Just shut your car off while you wait!
Choose non-toxic lunch boxes
Packing a lunch using a reusable container is the green way to go, but not all containers are created equally! Some plastic containers contain potentially harmful chemicals like bysphenol-a, an endocrine system-disrupting compound. Always look for BPA-free lunch boxes and, if possible, avoid plastic lunch boxes all together!
Pack a healthy lunch
It likely won’t be too big of a surprise, but school lunches aren’t always the most balanced and healthy. Students with dietary restrictions may not be adequately served, and the average school will throw out 20,000 pounds of food per year. That’s a lot of waste! Packing a lunch not only helps ensure your children are eating a healthy lunch, but it allows you to exercise some control over how much food waste there is and how it’s disposed.
Keep track of the supplies your child needs
A good price point can make buying bulk school supplies an enticing option, but for the sake of being green, keep an inventory on what your student actually needs and purchase only that. If you do end up with unused school supplies at the end of the year, hold on to them! You can use them again next year. If the following school year requires different school supplies, consider donating them to a thrift store.
Choose non-toxic, eco-friendly school supplies
Choosing non-toxic school supplies is important, and that goes double if you have young children. Toxic chemicals can be absorbed through the skin and, let’s face it, young kids put random stuff in their mouths pretty regularly. It’s important to reduce the amount of exposure your kids might have to unhealthy chemicals. There’s almost always an eco-friendly, non-toxic version of every name brand school supply. Shopping around online may be helpful if unavailable in local stores.
Pick up a Juniper backpack
Picking an environmentally friendly backpack can be hard. That’s why we recommend grabbing our Juniper backpack. Instead of using virgin materials, the Juniper uses recycled plastic bottles and sustainably harvested cork for its patches and zippers. It has a carrying volume of 23 liters, a zippered front pocket, and a convenient clamshell 2-way zippered opening.