We’re talking reducing single-use plastic, saving money, eating healthier, plus so much more
A new school year is officially underway, and it is a great opportunity to have conversations with your children about the importance of cutting down on waste and incorporating sustainable options into their daily routines. From planning out lunches to using eco-friendly supplies and hitting up thrift shops together, here are some tips on how you can encourage our leaders of tomorrow to not only protect the planet, but to also inspire others to do the same.
Browse through for some tips and advice…
1. Choose secondhand clothing
Photo by Markus Spiske on UnsplashEach year, millions of clothing items get dumped into landfills (not to mention the amount of chemicals and dyes that are used in the fashion production process). Instead of purchasing new, go the secondhand route. It’s not just an environmentally friendly option, but you’ll actually end up saving a lot of money as well. Of course, we all know kids love staying on top of the latest trends, but you’d be surprised as to how many styles you’ll be able to find at your local thrift shop or consignment store. Another great way to shop secondhand is to browse social media platforms and check out if there are any clothing swap groups in your area, or consider hosting one yourself with friends and family. This will teach children the importance of reusing things, which will go a long way towards reducing waste.
2. Find earth-friendly school supplies
Photo by Jess Bailey on UnsplashFrom lunchboxes to water bottles and markers, you can find sustainable options for all of your child’s essentials. These consist of items that use minimal packaging, are made with recyclable materials, and contain no harmful chemicals. Note: before making any purchases, make sure you do a thorough check at home to see if you have any excess items laying around that can still be used ie: notebooks with blank pages left, a few extra pencils, etc.
Here are some of our top picks to help you get started:
AN ECO-FRIENDLY LUNCH BAG
This organic Sea Turtle lunch bag is machine washable, reusable, made with GOTS-certified organic cotton in India, and zero waste. It’s sturdy, easy to carry, and has more than enough room for your child’s food containers. The bonus? Kids will love the cute turtle design on the front.
A REUSABLE WATER BOTTLE
Hydration is essential for children while learning, and it’s equally as important to select a water bottle that is both BPA- and phthalate-free, such as the one pictured above. It’s also non-toxic, easy to clean, durable, and will fit into their bag with ease.
These 100 percent eco-friendly and biodegradable Sprout Pencils contain a small seed capsule at the tip which can be planted into herbs, flowers or vegetables. Kids will love the idea of seeing something blossom in front of their eyes over time, and this pack comes at a very affordable price.
BACKPACK MADE FROM RECYCLED MATERIALS
Quality and durability is key when choosing a backpack because you want all of your child’s essentials to fit and stay protected. Paravel’s bags come in a variety of colours, and this particular one is made from 10 recycled plastic water bottles.
3. Pack waste-free lunches
Photo by Ello on Unsplash'Tis the season to start packing lunches, so make sure you are cutting down on waste. This includes what type of food you are making, and how it is being stored. Instead of using single-use disposable containers, opt for stainless steel ones or silicone ones that can be reused, or pack things like sandwiches and fruit in beeswax wraps such as these from Tru Earth or these from Basic Good Trading Company (Basic Goods has a great selection of reusable containers for packing lunches).
Another great way to be sustainable with your food choices is to plan ahead. If you know exactly what your family is going to be eating for the week, then you’ll purchase only the amount of groceries you require. It’s also a fun way to get the kids involved, and they can help out by researching some meal ideas. Take the opportunity to teach them the importance of cutting down on processed foods and selecting produce that is fresh, local and much more healthier.
4. Rethink your school commute
Photo by Maximilian Simson on UnsplashIf your child is attending school in person this year, you might want to explore different options as to how they are getting there, which can help reduce air pollution and minimize greenhouse gas emissions. If walking or biking is an option but you can’t escort them everyday, speak to other parents and guardians to set up a schedule where you take turns supervising. If that doesn’t work, taking the school bus means you can at least reduce the amount of travel in your car. Need to drive? Find out if you can carpool with other families, and make sure you turn the engine off while waiting in the pick-up or drop-off line.