Sustainable School Supplies

Day 221 – When I was a kid I loved going out and getting new school supplies. Fresh box of crayons, the crispness of a brand new notebook, it all made me excited for a new school year. Fast forward a few decades and now I have come to realize how the whole process is a real pain. I can’t say there is anything that gets me excited about school supplies these days, that’s until I started looking for eco-friendly alternatives to the usual back to school items. I can’t say it’s an easy process, but in the end finding items that are good for the planet is quite rewarding.

The most eco-friendly thing you can do when preparing for the new school year is to take stock of what materials you have from the previous year. More times than not, you will find numerous things that can be reused. After taking inventory of previously used supplies, I ended up with 34 folders, 16 notebooks, 4 graph paper notebooks and 2 composition notebooks. This is just from one household with 4 kids. Imagine what could be rescued from a school at the end of the year.

For this post I took a few items from the supply list given by my kids’ elementary school. I knew I was going to have to go rogue after looking at the list. A few of the name brands they listed have no sustainable options. So, they were not going to be an option for me.

On the left is the requested item and on the right is the eco-friendly alternative I found. I will warn you, when it comes to wanting to do good for the planet, it usually comes with a price. That price is reflected in the cost of the items. Sadly, it’s not in everyone’s budget to go with the more environmentally friendly option. If it’s in your budget, I highly suggest you consider a few of these alternatives.

  1. Kleenex brand tissueCaboo Tree Free Bamboo Facial Tissue – Tree-Free facial tissue wipes made from sustainably grown Bamboo & Sugarcane, both are fast growing grasses giving you a natural, sustainable , and eco friendly alternative to traditional tree-based facial tissues.
  2. Bounty paper towelsEcoFirst Recycled Paper Towel – Produced from 100% recycled paper, whitened without chlorine bleaching, and free of any dyes, inks or fragrances
  3. White copy paperPrintworks 100% Recycled Multipurpose Paper – 100 percent post-consumer recycled printer paper, made in the USA from recycled food and beverage containers and other paper-based printed materials.
  4. College ruled notebook paperEcology Recycled Filler Paper – Ecology Recycled Filler Paper contains 100 percent total recycled content with 40 percent post-consumer fiber. Plus, 40 percent of the power used to produce this paper is from hydro power. Made in the USA.
  5. Hand sanitizerPipette Hand Sanitizer – Eliminate 99.99% of many harmful germs and bacteria to keep all hands healthy and germ free; Now EWG Verified to ensure the highest standard if safety.
  6. Clorox wipesClorox Compostable Wipes – EPA Safer Choice certified Clorox compostable cleaning wipes are durable and made from plant based fibers that are compostable in municipal composting facilities.
  7. PencilsRecycled Newspaper Pencils – Made from 100% recycled papers. Reusable box made of recycled paper too! Tree free, eco-friendly and biodegradable.
  8. PensBic Ecolutions – Made with 74% recycled plastic or Pilot B2P Bottle-2-pen – Made of recycled plastic bottles.
  9. HighlightersDry Highlighter Pencils – Plastic free highlighters
  10. Post-it-notesPost-it Greener Notes – Made with water-based adhesive and 100% recycled paper.
  11. Colored pencilsRecycled Newspapers Plantable Color Pencils – These Pencils Are Made From 100% Recycled Newspapers. After Finish Using It Follow the Steps GIven Back Side of Case and See New Life Growing
  12. Composition notebookRoaring Spring Environotes Recycled Composition Book – Wide ruled book containing 80 sheets has cover as well as back with 100% recycled content. It comprises of 30% recycled along with extra 30% post consumer waste. Made in the USA.
  13. FoldersOxford Earthwise Recycled Folders – Twin Pocket Folder are made from 100 percent post consumer fiber and 100 percent recycled fiber
  14. Glue stickElmer’s Natural Glue Stick – Made from plants with over 88% natural ingredients and container made with 25% post-industrial recycled plastic.

With the start of a new school year, finding new ways to help the planet is very important.

Tomorrow, Chicago’s waste report.

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