When I logged into Instagram this morning, I saw that for many children in the United States, today was the first day back at school. Where I live on the West Coast of Canada, kids will be heading back to class the day after Labour Day in a couple of weeks. (We hope - as Queen Composter mentioned, there is an ongoing labour dispute that may or may not be resolved in time.) Regardless of whether your kids are already back in class or whether you have a few more weeks of summer vacation to look forward to, there can be no denying that preparations for back to school are in full swing. Today I'm thinking about how to go green when going back to school.
Five Ways to Green Back to School
- Make an Inventory of What You Already Have - Reducing your consumption is a great way to go green. At back to school time that means buying only what you need, and nothing more. Inventory your kids' wardrobes and school supplies. If you already have an abundance of scissors, rulers, sneakers and long-sleeved shirts, there's no reason to buy more. You'll save money and spare the planet by using what you already have whenever possible.
- Plan Green Transportation - At the beginning of the school year, think about how you can make your trips between home and school more sustainable. Can you walk, cycle or take transit? If none of that works, how about carpooling? If you can trade off the driving with other parents you'll save time, reduce your carbon emissions and save money on gas.
- Buy Second Hand - Where possible, consider buying second hand. Water bottles, lunch boxes, backpacks, clothes and shoes are often available at thrift stores for a fraction of the cost. Plus, you're re-using something that someone else is finished with, which is always a green choice.
- Help Lost Items Find Their Way Home - Kids have a way of losing things. That's just life. However, if you make sure that everything is labelled you increase the odds that it will be returned to you. If your school has a lost and found, stop by periodically and look through the items. You may be surprised to discover a sweater or hat you hadn't even realized was missing languishing there in the bin. If lost items can find their way home you're reducing your consumption and saving money.
- Reusables Rock - When you're shopping for back to school, look for reusable items wherever possible. When you opt for reusable food containers, water bottles, stainless steel straws or drawstring bags to hold spare clothes, you're reducing the amount of trash your kids produce. When you consider how much trash can come out of a single school lunch, you can see what a difference reusables make.