Green Your School Year with These Eco-Friendly Tips

Green Your School Year with These Eco-Friendly Tips

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When you make the decision to live a greener lifestyle at home, it can be more difficult to get your children involved when they’re out at school all day. With a little extra effort, you can ensure that your children are making environmentally-friendly choices all year long, starting with their transportation to school, what you pack into their lunch boxes, and which school supplies they’re using. Regardless of age, everyone can do their part to make our world a little greener.

Choose Public Transportation

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, approximately 49.8 million students were expected to attend public elementary and secondary schools in the fall of 2014. With the school year fast approaching, we can only expect this number to grow during the 2015 school year.

With more than 49.8 million students entering public elementary or secondary schools alone, just imagine how many vehicles are needed to transport kids to and from school each day. Thankfully, school buses have been around long enough so that public transportation usually isn’t much of an issue, unless you live outside of the school district.

School buses are not only convenient for working or busy parents, but they’re environmentally-friendly, too. The first school bus was introduced in 1827 in London, United Kingdom and was horse-drawn. We’ve certainly come a long way since then!

Choose Public Transportation to Green Your School Year and Here is Why….

Even though it may be more convenient for your children to be driven to school each day, the greenest option is to rely on public transportation whenever possible. Make use of the school buses provided, have your child carpool with other groups, or encourage your child to bike or walk to school, if possible. Biking or walking to school is also the healthiest option! According to the National Center for Safe Routes to School, walking or biking to school can help with the following:

  • Weight and blood pressure control
  • Muscle, bone, and joint health
  • Reduction in diabetes risk
  • Improved psychological welfare
  • Better academic performance

If you live in an area where walking, biking, or public transportation is readily available and you’re willing to rely on it 100 percent, you may even consider recycling your car.

Reuse School Supplies

One of the most exciting parts about going back to school may be shopping for new school supplies. Children love picking out brightly covered folders and notebooks with their favorite cartoon characters smiling back at them. At the end of the school year, notebooks or folders may consist of worn edges and torn pages. However, folders and notebooks can still serve a purpose at home, if your child insists on picking out new supplies for the upcoming school year.

Instead of throwing used school supplies into the recycling bin or garbage can, use notebooks or loose-leaf papers for leaving notes or writing grocery lists at home. Cut unused sheets of paper into quarters and then use a binder clip to turn it into a new notepad. Used folders are great for filing away for organization. Simply stick a label on it so you know it’s a folder for taxes or bank statements, and you’re good to go.

Reuse school supplies to make your school year a little greenER and other great tips for back to school!

When it’s time to go shopping for new school supplies, look for eco-friendly brands that consists of 100 percent recycled, acid-free, chlorine-free paper and other eco-friendly ingredients. Choose from brands like:

Above all, try to reuse products as much as possible instead of buying new. Products like scissors, brushes, art supplies, pencils, pens, staplers, paper clips, and glue tend to last a while.

Another exciting part about going back to school is shopping for new clothing. Kids love picking out their outfits for the first day of school and they tend to feel more confident with a new wardrobe. If your kids have outgrown last year’s clothes and are ready for a few new outfits for the school year, you can donate or recycle used clothing or shoes before shopping for new items.

The Nike Reuse-A-Shoe program accepts worn out shoes and converts them into Nike Grind, a material used to create athletic and playground surfaces. To date, 28 million shoes have been recycled with the program! The Nike Reuse-A-Shoe program is great for worn out shoes that cannot be used any longer. Find a drop-off location here.

If your shoes are still in decent condition, donate them to a local organization who takes clothing donations. The only thing better than recycling is reusing! Homeless shelters, churches, thrift stores, and community outreach centers are always looking for clothing donations.

When you’re ready to shop for new school clothes, there are plenty of eco-friendly clothing options out there. Look for clothing that consists of organic and sustainable materials such as:

  • Hemp
  • Tencel
  • Organic cotton
  • Bamboo
  • Recycled polyester

Pack an Environmentally-Friendly Lunch

School lunches are important, and there’s more evidence now to prove the importance of a healthy school lunch than there was in the past. According to Let’s Move, childhood obesity rates have tripled over the past three decades. We’re eating 31 percent more calories than we were forty years ago, and we’re moving around less with things like the internet, computers, televisions, cell phones, movies, and video games. It’s important for kids to eat healthy, well-balanced meals in combination with daily physical activity. Healthy food options tend to be more environmentally-friendly as well.

20 not so boring sandwich ideas for school lunches.

When preparing a healthy but environmentally-conscious meal for your child, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Purchase a reusable lunch bag that can easily be cleaned. Encourage your child to choose something that they’ll want to use for the next couple of years.
  • Try reusable sandwich bags, like these bags from
  • Opt for reusable storage containers whenever possible. These containers come in fun colors that are perfect for the whole family to take to work or school.
  • If your child prefers drinking out of a straw, make it a reusable one.
  • Everything from utensils, cups, and napkins can be made a lot more exciting with these great options.
  • Make sure your child has a reusable stainless steel or glass water bottle with them every day. Say no to sugar-filled juice boxes!
  • Visit these great recipes for kicking the brown bag blues and making a healthy lunch your kids will actually eat.

Eat Organic or Locally Grown Foods

Once you have your reusable products for packing a lunch, you’ll need to decide which foods to include in your child’s lunch. Meal planning a week in advance can be incredibly helpful for saving money, reducing stress, and ensuring that your child has a nutrient-rich lunch each day of the week.

  • When it comes to filling the lunchbox with healthy foods, choose from foods that are organic and have not been genetically modified.
  • Pack foods that come in Tetra Pak containers or make sure that cans specify that they are BPA-free.
  • Pack a rainbow of fruits and vegetables rather than processed lunch meats or processed snacks.
  • Include fruits or vegetables from your own garden or from a local farmer’s market.
  • Pack healthy leftovers from yesterday’s dinner. Teach your kids how to reduce waste by tossing less food, or create a home compost bin.
  • Visit these great recipes for kicking the brown bag blues and making a healthy lunch your kids will actually eat.

Make It a Green School Year

With a little preparation, you can send your child off to school to lead an excellent example for other children who may be interested in going green as well. By choosing public transportation, reusing or purchasing environmentally-friendly school supplies, clothing, or lunch materials, and by eating locally grown food, you and your family can help to make the world a little greener. Regardless of age, everyone has the ability to make a difference!

Guest blogger:  Alexandra Beane writes for covering topics such as recycling, health awareness, and family activities. She holds a BA in Professional Writing and can be found cooking, writing, reading, volunteering, and rescuing animals in her spare time. Alexandra is on LinkedIn at

2 thoughts on “Green Your School Year with These Eco-Friendly Tips”


    The list of tips are rocking.Children can go with green if they are interested. Children can start greening the world with doing many different things. As donating cloths or shoes and participating in fair competitions.


    The list of tips are rocking.Children can go with green if they are interested. Children can start greening the world with doing many different things. As donating cloths or shoes and participating in fair competitions.

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