While you’re gearing up with all those back to school necessities, keep in mind the need to reduce, reuse and recycle! These simple tips aren’t just about eco-friendly schooling. They will also save families time and money, with the added bonus of knowing you are protecting the Earth.
Take Inventory: Reduce the number of items on your shopping list before even stepping out the door. Check last year’s staples—such as binders, pencil cases, supply boxes and backpacks— to see if they could be used for another year. You’ll be surprised by how much you already have on hand.
Buy Recycled Content: When purchasing new items, such as pens, paper, notebooks and pencils, look for products made from recycled materials. This closes the recycling loop by providing a second life to those materials you tossed in your recycling bin.
Stockpile Cool Stuff for Art Projects: Those old magazines, cloth scraps, bottle caps and toilet paper rolls can be transformed into almost anything. And they’ll certainly come in handy when your child springs a last minute project on you!
Pack a Waste-free Lunch: No need to pack green eggs and ham to send children to school with a green lunch. Follow these quick tips for a waste-free lunch:
Use meal/snack containers instead of plastic baggies
Send reusable flatware instead of disposable utensils
Use refillable drink bottles instead of juice boxes or bottled water
Catch the Bus: While walking or biking to school is the greenest way to get to class, sending your child to school on the bus saves gas and puts less cars on the road, resulting in fewer CO2 emissions and improved air quality.
Just for Teachers: Greening Your School
Clean up your School’s Act: Adopt a nearby parking lot, roadside or park and regularly pick up litter and improve it through plantings. You’ll be surprised to see less and less litter accumulating through your school’s hard work. Contact your local representative for more information.
Set up a School Recycling Program: Schools can compete for national awards and prizes in competitive recycling contests such as the Recycle-Bowl (register by Oct. 13) or the Trex plastic bag recycling program. If your school doesn’t provide recycling in classrooms or the cafeteria, speak with the administrators about starting a program.
Find a Classroom Resource: Visit the Your Classroom tab of askhrgreen.org and discover a variety of teaching resources from the Green Classroom Pledge to grade specific lesson plans and downloadable graphics and posters.
Get a Grant: Teachers can apply for environmental education mini-grants of up to $500. The mini-grants are intended to provide funding for environmentally-themed projects for K-12 children. Apply online now!