Along with the lengthening days one of the surest signs that summer’s coming to an end are the ‘Back to School’ signs in shop windows. While they might put a spring into the step of holiday-fatigued parents, they also signal the raft of new school supplies that their children are going to require for another academic year.
But while you’re busy spending out on pens, paper and fresh uniforms, why not do your bit for the environment too? With a little research it’s easier than you might think to send your kids back to school with a satchel full of green goodies for the classroom. Check out our handy tips below for a little eco-inspiration.
Sadly, the premium paid for the fabric makes it difficult for even the most eco-minded schools to insist on uniforms made from organic materials. However, if your school isn’t too worried about where you buy the basics (e.g. a white t-shirt and black shorts for P.E.) then you can pick up planet-friendly versions at many leading high street stores.
The other option to ‘green’ your child’s clothes is not to buy them fresh, but to borrow clothes from parents whose children have already grown out of them. Although this makes perfect sense for parents, you may have trouble convincing fashion-conscious older kids that this is a good green idea. Still, the current passion for green fashion means that ‘recycled’ clothes could well be embraced by kids who care about the environment.
Green Lunches Kids Will Love
If you’re determined to help the planet through your daily diet you can pass on your enthusiasm to your children through their lunchbox. If you’re lucky enough to have a child who is a healthy eater then introduce local treats produced with the minimum of air miles, and remember to include loads of healthy fruit. For more picky children – don’t despair – more chocolate companies than ever are now signed up to fair trade deals, which means the growers get better wages while your child still enjoys their daily treat! It’s worth checking the shelves for new additions to the kid-friendly fair trade range, as these days it contains everything from salted peanuts to branded cola.
Sustainable Stuff for Satchels
When facing the fresh school year, every child wants a pencil case stuffed with fun stationery to brighten up boring lessons. Which is great news – since many companies are cottoning on to the fact that eco-friendly pens, pencils and paper are popular with kids.
Many high street stationery stores now feature a wide range of recycled paper, which usually costs around the same as less eco-friendly brands. Recycled pens and pencils are popular too – on the net it’s also possible to buy fun recycled rulers which are made from all kinds of interesting source material. For extra eco brownie points, try to buy from a charity or choose a brand that actively plants trees or makes positive contributions to the environment.
An Eco-Friendly Attitude
Adults are often too busy to acknowledge that sometimes the best ideas come from kids. This is especially true when they’re thinking of ways to save the environment. Before the new term starts, chat with your child about positive eco-friendly suggestions for the school. Maybe the lights should be switched off in classrooms at night, or perhaps clearer recycling bins need to be put in the playground. Encourage your child to bring this up with their school council, or ask their form tutor before registration. But be clear on one thing – this year make sure their school work is original, not ‘recycled’ from someone else in the class!