Starting School Sustainably

You certainly can’t tell by the weather, but Fall is approaching, and it’s back-to-school time! As a new school year begins, families stock up on supplies and gear up for the routine of packed lunches, homework, and hustling out the door each morning. But the back-to-school season also brings a spike in waste from all the shopping and school supplies. This year, keep sustainability in mind with these tips for an eco-friendly start to school.



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Litter-less Lunchtimes

Pack lunches and snacks in sustainable containers that are washable and reusable. Take the extra step by packing reusable or compostable eating utensils, napkins, and a refillable water bottle. Go for the A+ by making some meals plant-based!

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Sustainable Supplies

The first step should be to check what you have from last year and reuse where you can. Opt for recycled and recyclable supplies like paper, notebooks, folders, and binders when buying.

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Buy in Bulk

In addition to purchasing recycled materials, buy school supplies like pens, markers, crayons, and paper in bulk, when possible, to reduce packaging waste.

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Needs or Niceties

Does your child “need” a new backpack or “want” a new backpack? No need to buy a new backpack or pencil box every year if they’re still in good condition.

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Impart Impact

Teach kids to use only the paper, water, light, etc., that is needed and explain the environmental impact of choices and actions.

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Budget Bytes

If your child needs a new computer or tablet, consider buying refurbished products. It’s a great way to buy electronics without breaking the bank. You will also help to reduce landfill waste.

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Rethink Routes

Change your routine to limit driving — and reduce emissions. Organize carpools, walk, or bike to school when possible. Get more info on choosing human power to get to school.

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Get Green Grants!

The Bright Green Future Grants program provides funding for school-based sustainability projects up to $3,000. To date, the program has funded nearly 500 projects! Applications are being accepted now through September 22.


Follow these sustainability tips during the back-to-school season to help the environment. Little changes can make a big difference over time!