Archive for August, 2010

Back to School in Sustainable Style

August 23, 2010

It’s hard to believe, but the long days of summer are already getting shorter, and before you know it, kids will be zipping up their backpacks and lining up outside to wait for the school bus. Back-to-school shopping is a celebrated tradition for students and parents alike. But with more families trying to reduce their environmental footprint, many eco-savvy shoppers are starting to seek out lower-impact options. Here are few easy tips to “green up” your back-to-school experience this year:

  1. Paper products. The bad news is that 1 billion trees worth of paper is thrown away every year. The good news is that there are a variety of high-quality recycled-content paper and notebook options to choose from. Mainstream brands like Mead offer stylish options, or check out an emerging paper company like “Ecojot,” which makes notebooks from 100% postconsumer waste and vegetable-based dyes. Or go the extra mile by opting for paperless with an energy-efficient, EPEAT-certified laptop.
  2. Writing utensils. Did you know that six billion pens are thrown away in the U.S. every year? Break the cycle by opting for recycled-content options, like Paper Mate’s EarthWrite pencils, which are made from newspaper and cardboard, or biodegradable pens made from cornstarch or recycled paper.
  3. Books.  Seek out used books whenever possible, especially for college students, where books can be a significant expense.
  4. Other supplies. First, before you head to the store, don’t forget to check your junk drawer – it’s easy to collect multiple pairs of scissors and staplers over the years! When you do need new supplies, look for options with recycled content. Or get creative and start a materials reuse program to hand down supplies when kids leave elementary school.
  5. Clothing.  Show your kids that vintage t-shirts are more fun when they’re actually vintage. Secondhand clothing retailers like Plato’s Closet have been growing in popularity in recent years, and it’s easy to see why (you can buy more with less!)