Today’s parents and kids seem to live on an unsteady edge, torn between wanting everything fast and easy to fit our high speed lifestyles, but also want to go green and make our world a better place. Sometimes, green is a challenge as we need to drive our gas guzzling mini vans from soccer practice to school then home, or when we want to just grab a fast food burger in the middle of our fast paced day. But there are certain errands that simply need to be done, and doing them with just a little green finesse does not add much time at all. One of those tasks is shopping for school supplies.
What to Buy? Of course, the specifics of your child’s list will vary from school to school, and grade to grade. But for most of your basic school supplies you are likely to find a green option. Following are a few suggestions for specific items you can “green” in your child’s school day:
Lunch boxes: Sure, a classic paper bag may be recyclable, but reusable is even more eco-friendly! Send your child off in style with a reusable lunch bag. There are a variety of great lunch box choices in your local Target, Kmart or Wal-mart, and of course online with Amazon. One great new option is the Pack-It lunch box, available online, which has built in cold packs allowing you to safely send your child off to school with lunch meats and other perishable items for their snacks and lunch.
Sandwich bags: Forget the disposable zipper bags or those cheap plastic baggies with the fold-over tops that let your little one’s sandwich get hard. Go green by investing – that is right, investing – in a reusable sandwich bag. These little bags (or, they also come in hard plastic) keep your child’s sandwich safe and fresh, without creating trash. Choose one that is dishwasher safe and you will know it is durable.
Pencils and pens: Yep, despite the computer revolution your little tyke’s still need some good old pencils and pens to get them through a day at school. Today there are a variety of eco-friendly options available, often including pencils made from recycled materials. You can usually buy these right in your neighborhood store. Biodegradable pens look like plastic, but they are actually made from corn products which will break down over time after disposal.
Adhesive paste: Also known as “glue” there are a variety of pastes that are not just non-toxic, they are actually all natural. Apparently, potato starch makes a great adhesive, fit for paper or fabric. Look for it at a green store near you or online.
Where to Shop? The Ultimate Green Store is a great online source for all your green supplies. From lunch boxes to pencils, backpacks to erasers, they have everything your kid needs to get their thinking caps working and their backsides on the bus. During back to school they often offer free shipping, allowing you to shop green, save your own green and even be green by leaving your car parked in the driveway.
Green Irene is another online retailer that offers a variety of supplies to help school be more green. This online retailer is a particularly great option for lunch boxes and reusable sandwich bags, helping eliminate the waste too often associated with the brown bag school lunch.
The Grass Roots Store online also carries a wide array of Earth friendly products. Among their school supplies are biodegradable pens that will break down within one year after they are thrown away.
Office Depot and Staples are physical office supply stores that may surprise you with their selection of school supplies as well as their selection of green school supplies. Among the standouts are recycled pens with biodegradable ink and recycled paper.
Send them Off Right With just a little extra paying attention you can send your kid off to school in eco-friendly style. The variety’s of earth friendly school supplies are so numerous that little extra work will be required on your part. Simply take advantage of what is out there, shopping online or in store but taking a moment to look around and choose the eco-friendly options.