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Waste Reduction Tips for Back to School

Waste Reduction Tips for Back to School

It’s that time of year again: when the school bells ring and back-to-school shopping is advertised everywhere. Whether your child is starting Grade 1 or you are entering the last year of your Master’s degree, we want you to think about the amount of waste you can reduce by following a few simple steps before back to school shopping. Your wallet would also like to thank you!

Reduce Your Transportation Footprint

With the ever-rising gas prices, now is a good time to look at alternative routes of transportation to and from school. You and your family can look at taking public transport or organizing a carpool with those in your area. If you live close enough, another idea would be walking or biking. These save you money, reduce your carbon footprint, and are a healthy option to start and finish the day.

Eco Friendly Lunches

When planning yours or your kids’ lunches, the amount and type of packaging you use is something to be aware of. Use a reusable lunch box instead of paper bags, get a sturdy metal one or BPA free plastic one. Instead of wrapping the sandwich in plastic wrap or a plastic bag, use a reusable container. Try the healthy alternative of fruit which comes in its own compostable packaging instead of individually plastic-wrapped snacks.

Back to school. A schoolboy takes a bottle of water out of his backpack
and drinks water. Drinking regime. students new year.

Reuse & Recycle School Supplies

Before buying new, take stock of what you already have. You don’t need brand new pencils when all the old ones are still functional. When you do purchase new items, look for those that have recycled content in them.

Used & Digital Textbooks

They can cost as much as or more than the school fees sometimes. A great way to save costs is to buy used. For those of you in college or university, many places have dedicated buy-and-sell groups, where students can sell their old books. If you can’t find what you are looking for there, the bookstores will likely have used editions in stock, priced at a discount. Sometimes you can even find an eBook version online.

Sustainable Clothing Choices

Kids are always growing, as are fashion trends. Before you buy a new wardrobe, see if there is a clothing swap happening in the area. Another good alternative is to shop for second-hand clothes at thrift stores. This usually helps the community and non-profits, and it also leaves cash in your pocket. If you don’t want to go this route, but still want new threads, look for well-made sustainable fabrics like organic cotton and bamboo.

Staying Green Going Forward

Label everything. This makes it easier to find lost items and saves schools from dealing with too much in lost-and-found at the end of the year. Explain to your kids why you are making these waste-reducing choices, and hopefully, they will grow up to help the world reduce further. Finally, these tips can be used as a stepping stone to a more sustainable you and can be applied every day for years to come. For more tips and trips on how to reduce waste in your life, visit



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