“Reduce, reuse, recycle” is the motto of the Environmental Protection Agency, and an easy way to remind everyone to protect our air, water, and natural resources. Back-to-school time provides many opportunities to do all three.
There are many ways to reduce, including using recyclable materials and materials that have natural or biodegradable ingredients.
- Biodegradable and natural ingredients are used in many art school supplies. For example, art paints can be water-based, making them easier to clean up and less harmful to the ground or surface on which they are spilled. Some writing markers and pens may use ink that has a vegetable base. Check the packaging to see if this applies to the school supplies you buy.
- Speaking of packaging, look for school supplies that use the least amount of packaging possible. Buy the smallest amount possible, or, to save money, buy in bulk and transfer the contents to recyclable or biodegradable smaller containers.
- When the back-to-school sales start, reduce the amount of emissions you put into the air when driving by either setting aside one complete shopping trip to purchase everything you need, or by picking up one or two items each time you are in a store and see something you might need. Not only will you have everything ready on the first day of school, but you will also save time and money.
Notebook paper is a staple of all school supplies lists, but it can also be the easiest item with which to practice the reuse part. Here are a few tips:
- Buy notebook paper that was made from recycled paper. This information can often be found on the packaging or product labeling. Also, buy as much as you possibly can during the back-to-school sales.
- Provide a cardboard box or paper (again, both made from recycled paper) and tell your child to simply drop notebook paper that has errors or smudges on it in there. Later, it can be used for scratch paper, drawing paper, or anything else that doesn’t require a clean, fresh sheet of paper.
Here are a few more “reuse” tips:
- Before buying the first school supply, go back through the items left over from last year, and reuse anything you possibly can. This includes backpacks, binders, pencil and pen cases and holders, and anything else that can be used again. If for some reason, binders or backpacks can’t be reused (school policies or class requirements have changed, for instance) donate the leftovers, along with clothes and shoes that don’t fit any more, to a charitable organization.
- Take advantage of deal websites, such as Overstock.com. Look for offers on items that have Overstock Coupon Codes. When you do this, you’re not only saving money, you’re also reducing air pollution, because the items are delivered to your door.
Practice good recycling habits at home, by separating all recyclable items from the household waste and carrying them to a recycling center. Help your child’s school recycle by offering to set up recycling stations if it does not already have one.
Jessy is a passionate and sustainable blogger for Credit Card Finder, the free credit card comparison tool. Read about our guide on using Green Loans Program in Australia.