Now that the school year is underway, we have a tendency to slip into old habits. It’s understandable; we’re a lot busier than we were a month before, so we’re tempted to choose convenient solutions, rather than choices that protect the Earth. Here are some tips to start the school year out right and stay eco-friendly along the way.
1. It doesn’t all have to be new.
It’s tempting to show up on the first day of school with brand new supplies and a whole new wardrobe, but after the first day it’s all unnecessary. Last year’s notebook still had some pages in the back and that backpack is still in good shape. Honestly evaluate the school items and only buy what needs replacing.
2. No more “brown bagging.”
If you send a lunch to school with your child, opt for reusable containers rather than throw-away lunch bags. The disposables are tempting because they’re easy, but reusable bags and utensils are much better for the environment. You’ll just have to teach your kids to care for them.
3. Don’t buy in bulk.
Buying in bulk is only a good strategy if you’ll actually use all of the items you purchase. Do you need that 5-pack of glue sticks? Or the box of 100 pens? Take realistic estimates of what you need and buy that and no more.
4. Buy from local producers.
Whenever you can, opt to buy from local companies for lunch foods and snacks. Since these items weren’t delivered across the country, they didn’t cause carbon emissions from the trucks and the burning of energy.
5. Walk, bike, or take public transportation to school.
If you live close enough to the school, encourage your kids to walk or ride their bike. It’s healthy for the environment and they’ll get a bit of exercise in the morning (which is proven to help focus at school). If your student needs a ride, have them take the bus rather than driving them yourself.
6. Buy eco-friendly clothing.
When you buy clothes, choose items made with healthy, organic materials. Organic cotton and bamboo are great materials that cause little impact to the environment. Ideally, choose products that were made locally.
7. Set up a carpool.
If bussing isn’t available, create your own system. Gather some other parents on your route to school and set up your carpool. Your school may even have some information on setting one up, including parents who are looking.
8. Choose products with minimal packaging.
Packaging is usually just waste. When you pick up products, choose items that don’t come laden with boxes or plastic wrap. Items that come packaged should be wrapped in biodegradable materials and made from recycled products.
9. Turn off those computers.
When not in use, make sure all devices (computers, laptops, tablets, etc.) are turned off. If you’ll be buying a device for the school year, choose a manufacturer that is taking steps to reduce their environmental impacts (through reduced energy use and eco-friendly materials).
10. Lead by example.
Like any other lesson, teaching your kids to be eco-friendly starts with you. Teach your kids to reduce their impact on the environment by doing your part to help the earth. If you can change your fundamental habits, your children will naturally fall into step.
Written by Holly MacLean from Wee Urban
As a new mom, Holly was driven to start Wee Urban™ to offer the modern family a unique and fresh collection of eco-friendly baby gear and accessories that goes beyond the conventional and explores the exceptional! Tired of traditional pinks and blues and cute motifs, we offer sophisticated designs, “conscious” organic alternatives, practical functionality and superior quality. Using our custom certified organic cotton blends, low-impact dyes, and other trendsetting fabrics, we hope to inspire families to be make better choices and of course- do it all in urban style!
Beyond our organic cotton and azo-free dyes, Wee Urban uses 100% post-consumer packaging and tags for our Wee Dreams™ Sleep Bags. Our distinctive screen-printing is done with 100% eco-inks and are all phthalate free.
We also recycle our remnants and donate as much as possible to local elementary schools to help with arts and crafts programs.
For more information, visit wwww.weeurban.com
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