Article - Tips to green up back to school

Tips to green up back to school

Some parents and kids look forward to the start of the school year, with the prospect of new learning, new friends and settling back into normal routines. Some have a less rosy view as relaxing holidays come to an end and get replaced by stationery and uniform shopping, early starts and the need to be organised for school and all the activities that come with it.

Whatever your view, it can be a good time to think about what you buy your kids, what they eat, family time and more to see if your habits could be a little greener. If you want to make those choices a little more eco friendly, check out these tips:

1. Make your stationery planet friendly

School stationery can be just as kind to the environment as office stationery if you buy things like notepads made from recycled paper and look for books that carry certification from organisations like the Forest Stewardship Council, a guarantee that the paper is made from trees grown in forests managed using responsible environmental stewardship. And stationery these days is far from all about paper. Now that tablets and laptops are on the stationery list, consider buying energy-efficient models and recycling e-waste at the end of its life.

2. Can you opt for second hand?

Everything from uniforms to partially used exercise books and lunchboxes can be re-used rather than bought new. Take a look at what you’ve bought in previous years that still have a shelf life and if you don’t have what you need, ask friends and family if they have items they no longer need.

3. Store wisely

Instead of sending your child to school with lunch in a plastic bag that gets tossed out every day, try to use a lunch container that can be used year round. That might not even need to be a standard lunchbox – most food containers you buy are re-useable. And when it omes to drink containers, think about going BPA free. Bisphenol-A, found in some plastic containers, can mimic the body’s hormone production and disrupt our endocrine systems.

4. Get out of the car

If you don’t live too far from your child’s school, you may be able to walk them there or join them on a bike ride to school instead of driving them each day. That means fewer vehicle emissions and better air quality in your neighbourhood. If they need vehicle transport, carpooling can also be a good option.

5. Make it a healthy lunch

Packing lunches in the morning takes time, so it’s tempting to rely on packaged snacks. But buying healthy local produce can cut down on excess and single use packaging, and help your kids eat well during the day.

6. Plan to relax

So many things come onto the calendar when school re-starts, as things like music lessons and sports practices come back on stream. Getting activities scheduled each week sounds stressful, but putting them all in a diary can actually help block out free time reserved for relaxing with your family or some ‘me time’.

Our Back to School board on Pinterest has lots of other ideas, so give them a look.

We’d love to hear your ideas, too, if you’d like to share them in a comment.

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    If your school requires you to cover your children's books, then look into ezicovers. They can be used from year to year and take seconds to put on. Much better than coverseal.
    By Fiona Ranchod on Tue February 17, 2015

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