Back to school may look a bit different this year, but we can still make every effort to reduce our plastic when it comes to back to school supplies. Have you ever noticed how much plastic is lurking in that school supply aisle? If we’re not mindful of our purchases (from binders to scissors to pens to backpacks), we can quickly end up with a pile of plastic waste doomed for the landfill. However, we can make some easy changes to our school supply shopping list to make a difference in how much plastic our kids use throughout the school year. Every time we buy something we can make a choice to shop smarter for the planet. Read on for ideas on how to reduce plastic this school year.
Shop Your Home
Take a good look at your back-to-school shopping list. There’s a good chance that you already have many of the items listed. Do yourself a favor and think about what you really need. Do you have highlighters and pens from last year that can make it through one more? There is no need to go out and buy all new eco-friendly, plastic-free items. It’s important to use what you have first and buy new only when you need to.
Hand sanitizer and masks top many back to school lists this year in addition to basic school supplies. A small, refillable bottle of Plaine Products hand sanitizer is an absolute must for kids going back to school. Children will still need to wash their hands regularly throughout the school day but a bottle of hand sanitizer in their backpack is the perfect thing for when they can’t get to the sink. You could also consider a bottle of hand wash as a gift to the classroom.
To keep our kids organized and able to do their projects, we need to purchase school supplies to both send to school with them, if they are going into the classroom, or to use at home. So many of these supplies contain plastic, but there are alternatives to look for that are more sustainable.
We’ve recently discovered Wisdom Supply Co. which, like us, is on a mission to reduce plastic waste. They sell all sorts of Plastic-Free back to school supplies. They even carry refillable dry erase markers! How cool is that?! Many of the items listed below can be found on their site – check them out!
- Notebooks and folders: Avoid ones with plastic covers. Choose those made from 100% recycled paper instead.
- Binders: Look for plastic-free binders made from recycled cardboard.
- Pencil sharpeners: Choose metal instead of plastic pencil sharpeners.
- Pens: Don’t buy those throw-away plastic pens. Buy refillable pens or fountain pens instead.
- Highlighters: You can now find pencil highlighters that don’t contain any plastic and you don’t have to worry about them drying out.
- Rulers: Look for wood or stainless steel as opposed to the cheap plastic ones.
- Scissors: Invest in durable 100% stainless steel so they are 100% recyclable.
- Staplers: Avoid those made from plastic.
- Pencil cases: Look for pencil cases made with metal or 100% organic cotton canvas.
There are many ways to swap out plastic school supplies for better options. Thanks for doing your part to cut back on plastic this school year!
P.S. We’ve also got great, easy ideas to make for a more sustainable school lunch here and here.