Back to School Tips

Day 229 – On Day 151, I wrote about GotSneakers, a FREE sneaker recycling program for individual sellers and organizations of all types and sizes. I have partnered with GotSneakers to resell, donate or recycle the sneakers we collect during the Northcenter Neighborhood Association Recycle Popup.

GotSneakers sent out a newsletter that listed a number of great suggestions to ensure a more sustainable school year.

  1. Reuse What You Can: Reusing items helps to avoid polluting the environment and eliminate unnecessary costs.  See which items from last year can be reused like pencil sharpeners, pens, erasers, and pencil cases.
  2. Look for Items Made from Recycled Materials: For the items you need to purchase new, look for brands the promote sustainability through the use of recycled materials.  Even better if the products you buy have certifications such as Green Seal, Safer Choice, and the Forest Stewardship Council.
  3. Prepare Zero Waste Lunches: Stock up on reusable containers, water bottles, and lunch boxes to help make zero waste lunches! There are many products that help to keep your child’s lunch fresh and make sure it doesn’t get squished.
  4. Refresh Your Child’s Closet Sustainably: Let’s face it, most kids love showing off their latest outfits — especially on the first day of school.  While taking the time to research brands that are eco-friendly, make sure you are recycling your family’s clothing.

Lastly, did you know that it can take between 30-40 years for sneakers to fully decompose in landfills?  GotSneakers has a solution – send your footwear to them where they will make sure it gets recycled or reused. You can also drop off your sneakers at the monthly Northcenter Neighborhood Association Recycle Popup.

Consider starting your school year with a school wide sneaker drive fundraiser.

Tomorrow,  questions about recycling nail polish.

Pack a Lunch: Help save the planet

Day 69 – Today is National Pack Your Lunch Day! I ate a packed lunch all through grammar school and high school. When I taught in a high school setting, I packed my lunch, too. I liked the idea of knowing what I was eating and even better, I was not spending extra cash on food that I may or may not like. I also enjoyed the extra time I got to eat my lunch, while others waited in line for their food.

On this National Pack Your Lunch Day, we could talk about the health benefits of packing your own lunch. Or we could talk about the financial aspect of brown bagging it. Instead, I thought talking about the environmental side of packing a lunch would be a good idea.

Here are a few ways you are helping the planet by packing your lunch:

Image borrowed from HuffPost
  1. By not needing to drive to pick up food or have food delivered, you are cutting out car pollution. Now those bike deliveries are not included in this example.
  2. By not ordering out all the time, you are greatly reducing the amount of waste you produce. That take out packaging can really add up.
  3. You can also reduce the amount of waste you produce when you use a reusable lunch bag and reusable sandwich bag. I was one of a few students in my high school that used a reusable lunch bag.
  4. Packing your own lunch allows you to eat leftovers from home. By eating leftovers you can reduce the amount of food you throw out at home. We have talked about the importance of keeping food out of the landfill.
  5. When packing your own lunch you can include a washable napkin, real utensils and a beverage stored in a thermos or reusable bottle. This allows you to have a zero waste lunch!

Now, I’m not discouraging you to patronize your favorite local eatery. All I want to do is suggest that you find a balance. Maybe even consider suggesting some ways your favorite lunch spot could use more sustainable methods in delivering and packaging their food.

Tomorrow, giving away what you don’t need and finding what’s needed for free.