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Go Green for Back to School!

August 18, 2014

Go Green for back to school already? It seems like summer has just begun! As summer is winding down and you prepare the kids to head back to the classroom, here are a few tips on going green for back to school:

GREEN YOUR RIDE.   Did you know the average school bus can hold approximately 36 children, meaning a single school bus is equivalent to taking 36 cars off the road? Whether you walk the kids to school, ride a bike, carpool with neighborhood friends or ride the bus, go green with your children’s school transportation this school year. And don’t forget to participate in International Walk to School Day on October 8!

PACK A GREENER LUNCH BOX. Don’t send the kids off with a brown paper bag lunch and plastic baggies! Instead send them in (eco-friendly) style with a metal lunch pail or canvas bag that can be used all year long.

REMEMBER TO GREEN THE INSIDE AS WELL. Avoid filling that lunch box with plastic sandwich bags, paper napkins and disposable utensils that eventually end-up in landfills. Opt for re-usable plastic (PVC-free) containers, butcher paper, or parchment paper for wrapping food and toss in a cloth napkin and reusable cutlery.

EAT GREENER TOO!  Give those little brains the fuel they need by filling those lunch boxes with organic and locally-grown meats, dairy, and produce instead of processed packaged foods that contain little to no nutritional value. When purchasing nuts, granola, organic crackers or other snack items, don’t purchase single-serving snack packs, opt for the bigger package instead and make single servings yourself in re-usable containers. Better for the environment AND better for your wallet!

AVOID PVC IN SCHOOL SUPPLIES.  According to the Center for Health, Environment & Justice, PVC can be found in some unusual places when preparing for back to school. Did you know backpacks with shiny plastic designs often contain PVC and may contain phthalates or lead?  The colored plastic coating on the metal spirals of some notebooks can contain PVC.  Even many 3-ring binders are made of PVC and may contain phthalates. Be sure to check labels on backpacks to be sure they are PVC-Free, opt for metal spiral notebooks WITHOUT the plastic coating and choose binders made of cardboard, fabric-covered, or polypropylene.

TAKE INVENTORY BEFORE YOU BUY. Save money and the environment by taking a few minutes to take inventory of what you already have at home from previous years before heading out to complete the school supply list. Chances are you have more than you think!

PURCHASE ECO-FRIENDLY SUPPLIES. According to the EPA, for every 42 notebooks made with 100 percent recycled paper, one tree is saved! So, after you have made your list of items that DO need to be purchased for back to school, look for recycled, renewable school supplies. Most major retailers now offer a wide selection at reasonable prices.

SHOP GREEN. There is nothing more exciting for the first day of school than a brand new outfit and shoes! But for day two and beyond, consider some green alternatives. Clean out those closets and see what still fits and what doesn’t. Make a list of “MUST HAVES” before heading to the mall to avoid overbuying and consider hitting the consignment stores and thrift shops first. Take the clothing that no longer fits and create a clothing swap with friends and neighbors.

JOIN THE CLUB. Does your school have a recycling program? If so, get involved! If not, start one!  Even better, consider starting a “Recycling Club” and get students involved by making their classmates aware of what and how to recycle, helping place recycling bins around the school, create classroom competitions to see who can recycle the most and more. What a fun way to educate the next generation on protecting Mother Earth.

MAKE YOUR SCHOOL AN ECO-SCHOOL. Join over 30 other schools in Massachusetts and become an ECO-SCHOOL! Eco-Schools from the National Wildlife Federation is an internationally acclaimed program that provides a framework to help educators integrate sustainability principles throughout their schools and curriculum. Find out more about this program on the National Wildlife Federations Website.

How do you plan to go green for back to school?

 

ABOUT THE GOGREEN WEB DIRECTORY:

On the GoGreenWebDirectory.com you will find local eco-conscious businesses, will learn about green events in your community, and will connect to green living information and news. Rest assured that that those listed and advertising on the directory meet green standards for their type of business. While individuals should always ensure that the green businesses they support are taking acceptable measures, all of the businesses listed on GoGreen have been vetted.

GoGreen is the place to find hundreds of hand-picked green business listings that are local to you.

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