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Every year when my little ones return to school I get a tinge of anxiety when I think about the supply list and back to school shopping. How long will the list be? How much money will I spend? How busy are the stores? For the last few years I’ve been focusing on ways to make my life easier, back to school better for the planet, and looking for good quality zero waste back to school supplies. Today I’m sharing a few simple ways to make back to school more Earth friendly as well as sharing some of my favorite zero waste school supplies.
Eco Friendly Back to School Tips
- Your kids don’t need a new wardrobe for school. I promise that little Johnny will be fine if he doesn’t replace his entire wardrobe in the fall every year. I use back to school more as a time to assess what my kids need in their wardrobe so I can keep an eye out over the next few months for it.
- Shop your own home first. The first and easiest way to score back to school stuff is to use what you already have. This includes clothing, backpacks, supplies, an anything else that might be on the list. My son’s school usually sends home unused supplies at the end of the year, so we always check if any of those will fill a need on our list.
- Wait until a supply list is available before you shop, otherwise you might end up wasting money on supplies you don’t need. If there isn’t one, start with the bare minimum and add to your supplies from there.
Low Waste School Supplies
- Binder – Made from very sturdy cardboard, both the clips and end cover can be replaced, a great way to keep it from going to a landfill.
- Blackwing Pencil Set – Not only are these pencils made from incense cedar and Japanese graphite, they are flat on the eraser end to keep them from rolling away. When the eraser gets low, it can be replaced instead of having to use a topper or toss the pencil out.
- Solid Wood Ruler – Using a ruler that is made from solid metal or wood is a great alternative to plastics.
- Wax Peel Highlighter – Sharpie brand, this wax highlighter doesn’t even require sharpening. You simply peel when you’re ready for more color. It physically can’t bleed through the page and glides over your paper like butter.
- Blackwing Colors – Made in Japan from incense cedar with a wax color core, this set includes 12 colors.
- Recycled Paper – College ruled, just like most of my son’s teachers prefer. Made from 30% Sugarcane and 70% Post Consumer Waste, it doesn’t contain the plastic strip that reinforced papers do.
- Metal Pencil Sharpener – This clever little thing is made from solid metal and even comes with replacement blades, yay!
- Natural Rubber Eraser – Made from natural rubber and not packaged in any plastic, these replace vinyl and synthetic erasers.
- Refillable Dry Erase Maker Set – I didn’t even know these existed until now! You can refill these aluminum body markers over and over to your hearts content.