Eco Lassie knows that parents with school-aged children have specific shopping lists for school supplies provided by most districts. Here are few of her thoughts on how to keep those shopping days eco-oriented.
Before you run to the store, take a good look at what’s hiding in desks, junk drawers and arts and crafts areas. Take an inventory of what you already own before heading out to shop. Many items, like pencil cases, can do double duty more than one school year.
Chances are you already own some of the requirements, like those colored pencils that just need to be sharpened. Ditto for crayons and pencils you bought in bulk. A quick run-through may shorten your shopping list.
This is the time go through old notebooks, too, and tear out any unused pages to make pads for notes by your telephone. These are a great source of note and memo paper in those leftover pages your kids won’t want to use.
When you do head out to shop, look for recycled content for the items still on your list.
There are many more options available these days at stores such as Target, Staples and Office Depot, with prices coming down and starting to compete with non-green paper products. And while some papers are treated with dioxins to make them white, you can look for recycled chlorine-free paper.
If your eco-gene shudders at the thought of buying a plastic pencil case, consider a metal or material option. There are hundreds available on Etsy in really cute fabrics, but be aware that they may not hold up as well as plastic, which may last longer. But Etsy has multiple shops featuring zippered cloth pencil bags, some available for personalization, and a few even made of recycled material.
An older student or one headed to college might find one of leather to fit the bill. There are nice ones on Levenger that are admittedly pricey, but available in different colors that will last for years.
Another eco gift for grandparents to consider is the EcoSystem found online or in Barnes and Noble. Made of 100% post-consumer recycled paper, your student can choose from three paper styles with choice of cover color and hard or flexi cover. These are notebooks meant to be kept, journals or sketch books that will be referred to for years.
Less expensive but similar options are out there, of course. ReWrite recycled notebooks are available for $2.99 for an 8 X 10 with a choice of blank, lined or graph paper, all with recycled chipboard covers, great for your budding artist to design and decorate. Online and at Office Depot.
Even less expensive, but with shipping charges, are the recycled content comp books at iBuyOfficeSupply. At only $1.89 each with minimal shipping costs, buy in bulk for free shipping. Get some local parents to share an order for the free shipping to kick in. They also carry recycled colored construction paper for $1.17 for a pack of 50 sheets, 12 X 9 size.
They carry recycled three ring binders at $6.91 each, but be aware that these are not as sturdy as commercial plastic binders. You may get one school year out of them, but they can be recycled when your student has no room to doodle and they’re ready to move on.
Eco Lassie has one other suggestion: Approach your PTA or class mother about sharing an online order to decrease shipping costs. Many items bought in bulk will be less expensive this way.
A great resource for larger orders is TreeSmart.
You know those newspapers you and your family are so good about recycling? A two-foot stack of old newspapers saves one entire 20-ft. pine tree!
Tree Smart turns them into pencils that are 100% waterproof and made without toxic recycling chemicals. They sharpen easily and don’t clog the sharpener.
They’re available as colored pencils, too, and can be imprinted for clubs or fundraisers. All have high-quality HB graphite inside.
And consider the ‘set’ options they offer: The All-Star Recycled Set gives you 12 newspaper pencils, a set of colored pencils and 2 rulers made of recycled materials for $10. The Student Desk Set offers 24 pencils and a set of mini-coloreds for the same $10.
If you share an order with an $8 shipping charge between several families for quality, recycled products, and then consider the cost of gas to get to the local stores for each family, you may find yourself shopping online this year.
What other eco suggestions do you have for school supplies?
The Eco Women are not employed by any of the companies mentioned nor were they paid to review or suggest these products.
Photos thanks to Google Images