Its September now, which means back to school for millions of kids! Some districts and universities have already started classes, with others beginning over the next few weeks.
While there is certainly a lot of organization and paperwork this time of year, we have 5 ways to green your back to school routine.
Save energy, money and the environment… and maybe even teach a lesson or two about conservation and economics before the school bell rings!
1. Re-use your backpack or lunch box from last year. Check to make sure the zippers are still working and spot clean with cold water and a soft cloth. No need to spend money on new items and create waste when your existing ones still have some use. With four children, I’ve managed to save about $150 this year (only 1 child needed a new backpack and 2 required new lunch boxes).
2. Sign up for e-mail newsletters from the school and classrooms. Aaacck!! I feel like I am drowning in paperwork! But so much of the information that is printed and handed out can be sent via email. I am a cub scout leader too and I always send agendas and meeting notices through my email. You can encourage your child’s school and teachers to try to minimize paper usage with e-newsletters and announcements. Offer to help create the email list, if necessary!
3. Green transportation. This one is a biggie! If you live within 1/4-1/2 mile from school, consider walking or riding bicycles to minimize on driving. Getting out in the fresh air is a great way to wake up little brains and get the blood pumping before classes start. Review safety rules beforehand, including a planned route and using bicycle helmets. For those that live farther away, a school bus is greener than individual driving. In fact, some school districts are even changing to plug-in electric hybrid buses with up to 40% fewer emissions than regular buses!
4. Focus on nutrition. School lunches are getting healthier, but you can best influence what your child will eat by packing a lunch at home. Chose whole grain breads, organic fruits and vegetables and drinks that are not loaded with sugar or chemicals. Healthy food will increase learning ability and stop sluggish sugar crashes mid-afternoon. Cut down on wasteful packaging, as well, by considering using these re-usable sandwich and snack bags from 3 Green Moms. Helpful tip: we pack lunches the night before and leave them in the refrigerator to minimize morning chaos!
5. Be a mindful consumer. Its tempting to run out and buy a bunch of back to school clothes and gear right away. Carefully consider purchases before you make them and think about waiting a few weeks to see what items are truly needed. You just might find that calculator from last term! Before the end of September, retailers will put clothing and other items on sale to make room for all the Halloween stuff…. that means sales and big savings for you!
For more green tips, check out our 2009 back to school article.
I hoped you all learned some good lessons! Have a great school year!