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Back to School with the Environment

Release Date: 8/12/2004
Contact Information: Liz Ferry, (215) 814-2909

Liz Ferry, (215) 814-2909

It’s back to school time! Time to head to the supply store to buy new pencils, paper, backpacks, and everything needed to get ready for the school year.

When school shopping this fall, there are environmentally friendly tips you can use to save some money and reduce waste.

• Choose from a wide assortment of products made from recycled materials. Products like pencils made from old blue jeans, binders made from old shipping boxes, and of course recycled paper products. You can also reuse items like refillable pens, rechargeable batteries, and scrap paper for notes.

• Sort through your current materials in your house. Many supplies can be reused or recycled. Backpacks, notebooks, folders, and binders can be reused.

• Use school supplies wrapped with minimal packaging; or buy products that come in bulk sizes. Waste from packaging accounts for more than 30 percent of all the waste generated each year.

• Save packaging, colored paper, egg cartons, and other items for arts and crafts projects.

• Share your used books with friends, relatives, or younger schoolchildren. Many schools reuse text books to save money and reduce waste. Covering your textbooks with cut-up shopping bags helps reduce waste and keeps your books in good condition. Be creative—use markers or colored pencils to give your covers unique and fun designs.

• Use nontoxic products, inks and art supplies, such as batteries with less mercury, vegetable-based inks, and water-based paints.

• If you bring your lunch to school, package it in reusable containers instead of disposable ones. Bring drinks in a thermos instead of disposable bottles or cartons.

• If you drive to school, try carpooling or take public transportation. Get your parents’ permission to try walking, biking, or skating. You can prevent wasted fuel, reduce air pollution, and decrease traffic in your community.

Waste less by reducing, reusing, and recycling. Work with your teachers and friends to find ways to encourage everyone in your community to make waste reduction a part of their everyday lives.