A little late for many of you as your school (of kid’s school) started already, but I start back to in person teaching on Monday! I haven’t bought anything for the semester yet, but I have been eyeing a few things. There are some things in here you can still start now – get your transportation on lock down, start a green group at your school, and make sure your lunches are healthy for you and the environment. Check out more:
The endless supplies have been out in stores for weeks now. The notebooks, pencils, backpacks and calculators line almost every aisle sprouting either fear or excitement in every child that passes. The temperatures may not be winding down but our summer vacation is coming to a close. Whether you’re a parent, aunt, in school yourself or just lured into the back to school section at Target, here are some tips to make your transition back to school good for you and for the environment.
Let’s see if we can also save you money on your supplies. The DISD school supply list is hefty; the 22-line kindergartner list includes items such as five pocket folders, two primary composition notebooks and 24 #2 pencils. The average parent of a K-12 student will spend about $100 per student on school supplies.
Clean your house and harvest the leftovers. It’s rare a child will use an entire notebook and very likely there are several pens and pencils around the house that can be reused this year. Before heading out shopping have your children help you find as much as they can in the house first. Make a list and keep track of what you already have, preventing throwing away money on extras.
This same tactic can be used for clothes. Everyone wants a few new-to-you clothes for the school year, but first go through your closets to see what is actually needed. When it’s time to shop, explore some of the fabulous thrift stores in the area such as Buffalo Exchange, Genesis Benefit Thrift Store, Salvation Army Thrift Store and many more around the city. Vintage is hip and you’ll find one of a kind treasures and name brand clothing with a little digging.
The big item of the school year is definitely the backpack. Check last year’s to see if it’s still in good shape. If so, you can order an iron-on decal or get a name embroidered on it to spice it up for this year. If you need a new one, check your tags for bags made from recycled plastic. Many high-quality bags are made from recycled plastic bottles, and you wouldn’t even notice by looking – they are durable and colorful just like a traditional backpack. You still have time to order a backpack or lunch bag from theultimategreenstore.com, which has several varieties of bags made from recycled plastic or organic cotton, including a cute pig or frog rolling bag for little kids!
Set your school year up for success by making sure you have a reusable lunch bag, food containers and a water bottle. Label each item, so when the inevitable happens and something is misplaced you are more likely to get it back. Think nontraditional about lunches this year. Leftovers can work for student’s lunches as well and many don’t need to be reheated. Skip the sugar filled fruit juice boxes and pack the water bottle; skip the bag of chips and pack fruits and veggies in reusable containers. This is a healthier alternative and also produces less waste. According to treehugger.com, 18,760 pounds of lunch waste is created per year by one elementary school. Every little bit counts.
Set the tone on your transportation to school now and keep it up every day. According to treehugger.com, 31 percent of kids who live less than a mile from school walk regularly; half of those within a mile of school usually go by car – 60,000 gallons of gasoline would be saved each day if just 6 percent of those who drive less than a mile would walk instead. If you live within a few miles of school either walk or ride a bike. Beyond a few miles, take the bus, which uses less energy than if every student arrived by personal vehicle.
Lastly, while everyone is motivated in back to school mode, round up a group to help make your school a bit more green. Does the school recycle? Do they participate in Teracycle in which they can earn money for recycling nontraditional items? Does the school compost food waste? Get your group motivated and see what you can make happen before next summer vacation comes around.
As seen in the Katy Trail Weekly.