Eco Friendly School Supplies and Tips for a Greener School Year

If you are looking for eco friendly school supplies, you may have trouble finding them in traditional stores. My children start school in 10 days. Back to school shopping trips are never cheap. Who knew that it would cost hundreds of dollars for my kids to sit in class and learn stuff they probably won’t need after they get out of college?

The older my kids get, the more they school supplies they need. And that means it is harder to keep our carbon footprint low. It’s hard to find eco friendly school supplies unless you shop online. I am going to share with you a few green choices that I have found recently. Then I will share a few tips on how to have a green back to school season, even if you can’t afford or find green school supplies.

Whether you choose a waste free school lunch or recycled pencils, give some thought this month to the carbon footprint of your child’s school day.


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Eco Friendly School Supplies and Tips for a Greener School Year

Eco Friendly School Supplies

Money is tight and eco friendly school supplies are not cheap. But remember, even just one or two small changes in your back to school routine can make a difference!

I have found that a few office supply stores are starting to get the message and carry eco friendly school supplies. However, most mass department stores I look at do not. Rather than running around to a million stores and wasting gas, I tend to buy a few of our school supplies online. Here are a few items that you may find interesting in your attempts to reduce your back to school footprint.

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Eco Friendly Highlighters

Most school supply lists ask for highlighters. If your teachers are flexible, go with the eco highlighter pencils instead. They are responsibly made in Austria (wood from managed forests) with a natural finish so they are biodegradable (no plastics, no ink solvents, no volatile organic compounds). The set includes 6 neon colors (pink, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple).

Notebook Dividers

Keeping kids organized isn’t easy but notebook dividers help. The can separate a binder into multiple subjects or divide a subject into homework, notes, handouts, etc. Avery EcoFriendly Dividers  are made with 100% post-consumer recycled paper. They come in a packaging bag made with 50% recycled material, and use Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified Divider paper

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Natural Hand Sanitizer

Kids are dirty, dirty little creatures and teachers are always begging for hand sanitizer. My daughter has always had very sensitive skin and has had bad reactions to regular hand cleaners. I buy Cleanwell Hand Sanitzer online for her to keep in her back pack. It kills germs naturally and is gentle on skin.

Eco friendly mechanical pencils:

My kids much prefer mechanical pencils rather than the standard #2 yellow pencils most people use. However, I was hesitant to buy them given the fact that they are made out of an awful lot of plastic. Zebra Eco-Friendly Mechanical Pencils were our compromise. The polypropylene barrel is made from recycled shopping baskets, polypropylene sheets and car battery cases. The polycarbonate clip is made from the discarded materials of compact discs and headlights. It is 72% recycled material.

Recycled Printer Paper:

When kids get older, their homework involves a lot more than worksheets from the teacher. We try to ‘think before we print’ but sometimes you need to print stuff out. Use recycled printer paper to save a few trees.

Eco Friendly School Supplies and Tips for a Greener School Year

Eco friendly school supplies aren’t cheap but you can cut cost in other areas. I have found that many eco friendly school tips will actually SAVE you money so you can spend your savings on high quality school supplies. Here are a few tips for an eco friendly school year and a greener back to school season!

How to Create an Eco Friendly School Routine:

  • Look for second hand clothes: New clothes are not only expensive but they have a much larger carbon footprint than used clothes do. Hit the thrift stores for huge financial savings as well as a greener school day. Many higher end thrift stores have name brand and tags still on clothing items for picky teens.
  • Invest in a good lunch box:  Packing a lunch from home is not only healthier for your child but it is also much better for the environment. School lunches create a massive amount of waste. Instead of buying lunch at school, pack healthy foods in reusable containers for a  greener school meal. Give up bottled water and look for reusable options instead.
  • Check out the bus schedule:  Driving your child to and from school is usually not a necessity. One school bus filled with 50 kids will have a lighter carbon footprint than 50 cars in the carpool line. You can save yourself some time and gas money and put your child on the school bus
  • Recycle it when you are finished with it!  Recycle all your child’s papers (that aren’t going into the ‘special box’ for safe keeping). Check into ‘buy back’ programs at stores like Office Depot. This year they announced that they would give you $2 off the purchase of a new 3 ring binder when you return an old 3 ring binder to them for recycling.

Do you buy your kids any eco friendly school supplies?

(NOTE:  Post updated and content added from previous publish date)

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