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Green as Grass, Clever in Class: School Supplies

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Schooll There are two ways to green going back to school.

1) Re-use old stuff from last year

2) Replace with green alternatives.

Though there’s been somewhat of a debate over which way contributes less to green-washing, you don’t really have to decide which is better. It’s not exactly feasible to cover all back to school supplies and considerations in one fell swoop.


Say, for example, you (or your children) have leftover binders and folders from last year, but all the notebooks and pens are used up. Remodel the binders and folders with a collage or simple labels, and invest in some “no-virgin-fiber” notebooks and upcyclable pens to support sustainable businesses.


Sometimes books have to be bought new, and sometimes they’re passed down to 6th graders from 7th graders and so on. Buying new books that will only be used for a semester or two is certainly not green – but there are more options within this category. First, try half.com (affiliated with eBay) to find used textbooks, and subsequently sell your books back. Second, offset new books at ecolibris.com, a kind of carbon offset program for trees.


Some more money-saving and green tips: 

 · Buy only what’s really necessary – wait until the teacher says exactly what's needed for class, then start green supply searching.

 · Use a water bottle and lunch box instead of plastic bottles and paper bags! Wrap sandwiches in reusable (albeit plastic) Wrap-N-Mat.

 · Let your child take the bus, walk, or ride his or her bike if you live close enough to school. Don’t be part of that idling car lane for pick-up and drop-off.


Check out RTM's Planet Driven Section for green driving advice.

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