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Heading Back to School –
10 Green Tips for a Greener School Year

It’s about that time of year again. In the next few weeks, children all over the country will return to school, and that means parents and kids alike will be in droves looking for their school supplies and clothing.

The following is a list of a few things you can do and items you can purchase to start the school year off on a greener note.



1. Shop consignment and thrift stores. Thrift stores like Goodwill often have great deals at the beginning of the school year, just like most major retailers. The difference is you won’t be wearing the exact same thing as one your classmates on the first day of school.

2. Reuse last year’s backpack and unused school supplies. Each year, people feel like they have to start off with all new things. If there’s nothing wrong with your old backpack, keep using it. If your binder is in good shape, keep using it. If you need one, buy a repurposed one from a handmade clothing artist.

3. Use mechanical pencils instead of wooden pencils. Wooden pencils contribute to deforestation and need to be sharpened regularly. Mechanical pencils can be refilled and are always sharp and ready to go.

4. Buy refillable pens. Refillable pens are great, and generally more reliable than their disposable counterparts. Many refillable pens also come with several refill cartridges, which are recyclable when emptied.

5. Use recycled notebook paper. Seems like common sense, but using recycled paper is good for the environment and is available where you buy all of your school supplies.

6. Look for green binders and notebooks. Just like notebook paper, many companies are making binders and notebooks out of recycled materials. Look for eco-friendly binders and notebooks when you’re out looking for your school supplies.

7. Wear organic clothing. Major retailers like Target and Wal-Mart carry organic clothing lines in their stores. However, online, you can find lots of cool styles and designs can be found as well.

8. Sport eco-friendly footwear. Online and in stores alike, one of the newest trends is eco-friendly footwear. Companies like Simple and Vans make earth-friendly shoes that are in fashion and good for the planet.

9. Take a reusable water bottle to school. Studies show that being fully hydrated is an essential part of being able to retain information. Carry around a reusable water bottle for easy refilling throughout the school day and stop using disposable bottles.

10. Put rechargeable batteries in your electronics. Although they cost a little more than conventional batteries, rechargeable batteries can be ready to go again in as little as 15 minutes, which is great when your batteries are low and you really need to use that graphing calculator. Light your room with LED lighting, and save energy while doing homework.

This article was contributed by Heather Johnson, who writes on the subject of green shopping . She invites your feedback at heatherjohnson2323 at gmail dot com.

Copyright 2008

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