When I was a kid, the very best thing about a new school year was all the new stuff that went with it: new pencils, new notebooks and new clothes. Come late August, you went shopping for all the supplies — regardless of what was left over from last June.
But times have changed, and so should the back-to-school routine. Maydelle Fason, a green-living mother of two and a former horticulturist, offers some tips for preparing your kids while protecting the environment.
About that new wardrobe … skip it! The best way to outfit the little ones is a friendly neighborhood clothing swap. It’s a win-win: The kids get new-to-them styles and parents avoid the madness of back-to-school shopping (and even better, they save money!). If new duds are a must, Fason suggests buying clothing that is made from natural fibers and manufactured sustainably.
My Box Is Metal
Bring back the 1970s by giving your kid a retro lunch box instead of a disposable bag to tote back to school. Better yet, use pretty, insulated lunch sacks made from recycled materials. For sandwiches or snacks, opt for easy-to-clean, reusable cloth bags or sturdy reusable containers.
With schools cutting back on bus service to lower costs, many parents are faced with few transportation alternatives. Fason lives in New York City and is able to take her daughter to school via subway. (As a bonus, the two read books on the way.) If public transportation isn’t an option for you, try riding bikes to school or organizing a carpool with other parents.
It’s important to keep kids hydrated, and sending your child to school with a reusable bottle keeps trash out of landfills. Make it even more fun by letting her pick it out herself!
Resist the urge to buy all-new school supplies. (Junior’s crayons don’t need a perfectly pointy tip to create his masterpieces). Gently used binders and book bags can easily last a second — or third — year. And investing in sturdy, simple backpacks that go the distance means you can skip that hot-today-gone-tomorrow celebrity product (sorry, Justin Bieber!). For supplies that must be replenished — like paper — look for post-consumer recycled options.
Increase Your Impact
Greening your children’s back-to-school routine is a great start. But your best move is to encourage local administrators to reduce, reuse and recycle at school. Ask them to email rather than send paper notes home, and encourage an all-school recycling program. Be the spark that gets your school going!
Source : LivingGreenMagazine