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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Making Back to School Green

Around here we are entering the Back to School Season.  We have been acquiring back to school supplies and assembling back to school clothes. Even if you don’t start school until September, you have probably noticed the school supplies in stores everywhere. The sales have started. You want to do something green, but are baffled by the how’s and don’t know where to start.
Let’s start with the basics supplies.
The Backpack.  There are many green options here. A cloth one is preferable to a plastic one and will last many more years. A quality backpack will cost you a little more to start with, but will last much longer in the end. Case in point my husband still has the same one he had in college. It has lasted twenty plus years and we still use it on day outings. It is a canvas and leather. Canvas is a durable material and will last a long time. Green Home  has a vulcanized rubber back pack. Vulcanized rubber is almost guaranteed to not wear out. Rawnique  has a hemp bag. Hemp is, as you know almost indestructible.  But for me perhaps the best option is to check the thrift stores. In buying a backpack at the thrift store you not only get a good deal, you are keeping things out of the landfill.  We found a Coach backpack for $10 at a thrift store last year
The Lunch Box. Taking lunch from home has so many more Green possibilities. But what to do about the lunch box? Most options are plastic. So where do you start?
Terra Cycle  - the company that collects juice pouches make a lunch box from them. How cool is that. Something that was destined for the trash, recycled into a new product. 
Let’s say you don’t want to use Plastic Ziploc Bags or plastic containers. What are your options for packing lunch?  I found these cute looking cloth sandwich bags.
LunchBots Rounds Stainless Steel Leak-Proof Food Container Set, 8-Ounce and 16-OunceLunch Bots    – These are stainless steel, lunch containers. They are practically indestructible. 

Bento Lunch Box Set - Airtight - Microwave, Dishwasher, Freezer SafeBento Boxes – These are a time honored tradition in Japan. Mothers there display their creativity with how they pack the lunch.  I had been using a plastic Bento Box, but this year I planning on getting some aluminum ones this year. My kids are good about bringing home lunch bags so this will be our next step.

Klean Kanteen Wide Mouth Insulated Loop Cap (16-Ounce, Monterey Blue)
Aluminum Water Bottles  – chose bpa free aluminum water bottles, like Keen Kanteen.  These are refillable and will save you not only money but keep us away from the pesky problem with plastic.

School Supplies
Unfortunately there are not a lot of options with school supplies and the ones that are out there are horribly expensive. Before you head out the the store to get supplies, check around the house to see what you already have. I like to stock up each year and buy extra supplies for to keep at home. When you do head out to the store  opt for recycled paper products. Notebooks should have cardboard covers, so that you can recycle them later.
School Clothes
IMG_6781Believe it or not one of my daughter’s favorite places to shop for clothes is Goodwill. We happen to have a large central store near by us and they get donations directly from stores. This past week we found many brand new clothes that we bought for $1.99 each. When you buy clothes at a resale shop you are not only saving money but keeping items out of the landfill.
Getting to School
Walking to school unfortunately is not an option for us. Living in the country has it downfalls. But for many people it is definitely an option. If you live within a mile of the school, walking is a viable option. Think about it by the time you load everyone up in the car and drive to school and wait in the drop off line, you can walk to school and get some exercise to boot.  If this sounds like a better option for you than driving back and forth to school twice a day to pick up kids then check out the Walking School Bus. If you are like my and the walking school bus is not an option try carpooling. We did this last year and it was wonderful. My daughter went with her coach to gymnastics and I brought one of my son’s team mates to soccer practice.

for more Green Back to School Ideas check out Retro Housewife Goes Green


The Jacobsen Family! said...

New follower from the hop! =) Please follow back!

Olivia said...

Aloha from Hawaii!!! New follower here via the blog hop.... Hope you have an amazing weekend!!! :) - said...

I am already a follower but stopped back by from the Bee Friendly Friday Hop! Stop over to my blogSaving Your Green
and visit sometime! said...

Giving you a follow from the bee friendly hop.

stop in when you get a chance.
Amber Living at the Whitehead's zoo

robbie @ going green mama said...

There are also stainless steel thermoses you can pick up. That was one of the biggest issues with school lunches last year - my child wanted a hot lunch too!

Lisa - the Granola Catholic said...

Robbie, I love the stainless steel thermoses, you can heat up the thermos with hot water while heating up the hot food on the stove. When the food is hot, empty the hot water back into the tea kettle and put the hot food in the thermos. It will stay hot till lunch time. I do this for my lunch, and I absolutely love doing it.

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