The new school year is fast approaching. Since school years are a time for new beginnings and a fresh start, why don’t you start the year off right and go green this year? It’s easier than you may think. Follow these ten tips to have a greener and healthier school year. These tips are meant for kids and parents, both at school and at home.
Tip #1 – Use paper book covers instead of plastic. Use paper shopping bags and cover your child’s books with them. They can draw or color on them, making them uniquely customizable. You can buy inexpensive stickers at any office supply or toy store if they’d like. “There are dozens of websites that have printable images of popular characters that children favor like cartoon characters.”
Tip #2 – Use backpacks made from recycled materials. There are many backpacks out there which are made from organic materials as well. If you cannot afford to buy a new backpack, reuse last year’s backpack and decorate it with patches of their favorite bands or sports teams.
Tip #3 – When it comes to your kids lunches, don’t use plastic bags. These are not biodegradable. Instead, a good green option is reusable Tupperware. Don’t use plastic bags to send lunches to school either. Use insulated bags instead of getting new plastic bags every time.Insulated bags also store food better until its lunchtime.
Tip #4– Another way to make your kids lunches a little greener is to get rid of potato chips and sugary snacks and give them healthy options for school. Eliminate the junk food and get them into some of the tasty organic snack options. Parents have increasing options as more major food manufacturers move towards organic and natural products.
Tip #5 – Drinking water is one of the healthiest things that you can do every day. Water is far better than soda or even sweetened fruit juices. Unfortunately plastic water bottles aren’t environmentally friendly. Even if you recycle them, there are better options. Get your kids a BPA-free water bottle. You can find water bottles branded with hundreds of cartoon characters, movie stars, and sports teams.
Tip #6 – Buy organically sourced or recyclable school supplies. You can find bamboo pencils and pens made from recycled paper. Use eco-friendly crayons. You can also use refillable pencils and pens in order to not create excess waste.
Tip #7 – Cut down on unnecessary fuel use and let your kids take the bus. Don’t drive them to school every day. For your older kids, if it’s safely feasible, let them ride their bikes or walk to school. If your kids are involved in after school activities like sports or clubs, you should start a carpool with other parents.
Tip #8–Take the lead and reward your kids with outdoor activities instead of giving them material goods. Replace daily TV time with mom and dad outdoor time. Go walking or go to the beach. Show your kids how great the outdoors can be.
Tip #9– In the same area as Tip #8, encourage your kids to read more. Turn off the TV and save the electricity that you would use on TV, game consoles, and computers. If you have a porch or balcony, or even a really good tree on the property with low branches, encourage your kids to read outside every day. They’ll get fresh air and get some reading done at the same time.
Tip #10 – Donate last year’s clothes. Instead of just letting clothes pile up and unnecessarily fill up closets and storage space, donate them to local Goodwill stores or the Salvation Army. Unless you have younger kids who will wear them, there is no real need to keep old clothes around that no longer fit.
Follow these tips and have a green school year!