Sunday, September 11, 2011

Eco-Friendly School Shopping

"I would buy you a bouquet of freshly sharpened pencils:" One of my favorite lines from a slightly-cheesy movie, You've Got Mail, due to the fact it highlights what used to be one of my favorite times of year. Yes, as an extremely nerdy child, the finish of summer brought a slight sense of sadness but also excitement over gathering up school supplies and finishing up my summer reading list (like I stated, I was a nerd!).

A huge distinction in shopping lists since my days at school is the emphasis on eco-friendliness. With a growing emphasis on environmental awareness in school curriculums (a lot of schools now have their own gardens!), it only makes sense that parents and students seek out "green" items for their back-to-school shopping.

And although your child could not attend school's as environmentally progressive as Bali's Green School, there are nonetheless plenty of factors to do to make back to school a green event:

Go back to school with bamboo! Investing in this sustainable resource is especially valuable for the college-bound as bamboo clothing and bamboo sheets are wrinkle-free possibilities that call for fewer washings than traditional fabrics. Think of all of the water and quarters saved!

Select an eco-friendly backpack and/or laptop bag. These goods are toxic-free, PVC-free, chlorine-free, carry no ozone-depleting chemicals and are clean to recycle.

Decide on your paper wisely. If you're lucky enough to attend a laptop-equipped school, then you're already saving reams of paper. However, if pen and pad are nonetheless necessary, make sure to purchase notebooks made from recycled paper (look for FSC certified paper if achievable). And keep your fingers crossed that one day soon, this eco-friendly rewritable paper is going to be widely accessible for students!

Even laptops have their drawbacks. Although they undoubtedly minimize waste, the trade-off is an increase in energy use. Make sure to turn off laptops when not in use to conserve energy and try your hardest to buy electronics from firms that implement green initiatives like Dell's commitment to use locally-sourced packaging for their goods.

Pack a smart lunch! Choose local and organic ingredients whenever you can and always use a reusable lunch box and water bottle. Take it one step further and use a bamboo water bottle from a company that purchases carbon offsets as part of their manufacturing process.

Is your school close? Whenever feasible, walk or bike together with your child to school. And while the large yellow bus might not seem the most eco-friendly, it's basically car-pooling for young children and will lessen the amount of cars en route to schools not to mention the number of idling vehicles waiting to drop youngsters off. Plus it is a great way for children to get to know one another, so if at all possible, head to the bus stop!

Go Solar! Think of how many batteries your child will go through with calculator usage for years of math classes, no matter whether they're calculating sums or just spelling out funny words on them. Obtain a solar-powered calculator for school and save a lot of money and waste!

Douglas Michaels Jr. writes educational articles for Green Earth News, the authority on everything Bamboo. For more information on Green School. Check out Green Earth Bamboo for bamboo sheets, bamboo clothing, duvet covers, towels and baby products, all made from the world's most sustainable and renewable resource on the planet.

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