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Eco-Friendly Back-to-School

With schools opening back up, taking the time to learn about eco-friendly back to school shopping can help you do your part to save the environment and your wallet!

Look to Reuse First 

Most of us would be surprised how many of the back-to-school essentials we have just laying around the house. Before spending your money on things you might not need, take a look around the house for pens, pencils and backpacks, folders, and any other necessities that can be reused.

Sustainable Necessities 


The average brands for the back-to-school necessities don’t typically take their impact on the environment into consideration. With over 8 million trees around the world being used for pencil production every year, as well as 1.6 billion pens being thrown away every year in the US alone, it’s key for us to start taking the sustainable route when buying these products.

Here are a few amazing products that we recommend:

The Seven Year Pen

The Seven Year Pen hides a jumbo ink cartridge inside. Rather than join the 100 million pens discarded every day, The Seven Year Pen can write two meters a day for seven years.

Infinity Pencil

The infinity pencil is erasable and can replace up to 200 regular pencils. It has an ultra compressed tip so it won’t break easily like other brands, and has a replaceable tip. To make things better, For every pencil purchased, this brand plants one tree!

Plantable Pencils

Each plantable pencil is cheap and when you are done using it, you can plant the end to grow an herb of your choice, including basil, sage, thyme, cilantro and cherry tomatoes.

Hand Sanitizer

With the current state of the world, hand sanitizer has become more valuable than ever before. However, most of us don’t think twice about what average hand sanitizer does to our body. Most brands of sanitizer contain something called “Fragrance” which legally can consist of dozens and even hundreds of chemicals. These concoctions damage our endocrine system, disrupting crucial hormone production in our body and also damaging the delicate microbiome.

We suggest using one of these alternate brands to avoid long term harmful effects:

100 Percent Pure

This fragrance free hand sanitizer contains aloe vera for skin hydration.

Extrasensory Sanitizer

This large, glass bottle of hand sanitizer is sustainable AND good for you! It contains essential oils instead of fragrance.

ByHumankind

Refill smaller, travel bottles with this essential oil based, fragrance free sanitizer.

Staying Hydrated

When being preoccupied with things like getting to class, keeping up with schoolwork and what we’re going to have for lunch, it’s easy to forget about hydration. However, hydration is absolutely crucial when it comes to learning, considering the fact that hydration is directly linked to our cognitive performance, as well as our overall mood and our ability to handle environmental stressors.

Proper hydration is also directly connected to weight loss, and keeping your skin clear – two things that are a direct result of not drinking enough water!

Here are a few great water bottles that we recommend!

Bottled Joy

This gallon bottle contains time markers to allow you to monitor your daily water intake – plus it’s BPA free!

Bambaw Bottle

The Bambaw Bottle is made of stainless steel, with a bamboo lid. The sustainable, insulated design will keep your drinks cold all day long.

Kablo Bottle

Prefer glass bottles? The Kablo Bottle is made from non-toxic glass with a stainless steel, wide mouth lid. You’ll love taking this sleek designed bottle everywhere!

Alright class, take notes… 

One of the most key ingredients for organization and success is school is having a separate notebook to take notes for each class or a pair of classes. However, just like the majority of products, most notebooks are not created sustainably. We’ve put together a short list of some sustainably-sourced notebooks to help keep you on point.

Eco-Journal

These unlined journals are made from recycled paper, and are small enough (5.5 inches by 3.5 inches) to take with you anywhere. Comes in a pack of four.

Hemp Notebooks

These are made from hemp, not trees, making it an eco-friendly alternative to classic notebooks. A sketchbook version is also available!

SugarCane Notebook

A college-ruled notebook made from sugarcane? How “sweet” is that?! Sugarcane plant is actually a rapidly renewing resource and makes for high quality paper.

When it comes to clothes…

When it comes to clothes, there are a few different approaches to being sustainable. One great approach would be to check out thrift shops and second hand stores. You’d be surprised at the quality of some of the things you can find there. This saves money that you can spend on a few big ticket items or investing in more sustainable products.

Last but not least… 

For kids kindergarten through 12th grade, eating lunch is an inevitable part of the school day. Instead of packing plastic silverware that isn’t biodegradable, or packing more expensive silverware from your home that will end up getting lost, it may be best to take the route of reusable bamboo silverware. This approach is biodegradable, reusable, durable and surprisingly cheap! Below are some of our favorite brands:

EarthHero

This set comes in a cute pouch with a built-in clip, making it perfect for people of all ages to take on the go!

Eco-Traveler Set

This set comes with utensils AND a reusable straw…and a cute pouch to carry it on the go. Reducing plastic usage has never been so easy!

6-piece Bamboo Set

This set comes with bamboo utensils, a bamboo straw, and a washable napkin for the ultimate sustainable eating experience.

All in all, it is best to shop smart and think of what you already have before you waste your money and put more waste into the environment. Sustainable products can be surprisingly durable and cheap. If you are a parent, It is important to be a role model and talk to your kids about the importance of sustainable practices.

Do you have any other ideas to help make back to school shopping even more sustainable? Feel free to comment below!

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