When Heading Back to School, a Little Eco-Effort Goes a Long Way
The school supplies required for our children no longer just include a few pocket folders, pencils, pens, and a protractor. There can be up to 30 or more different items required per child for core classes, plus another dozen or more for electives (see this sample list for third graders). Unlike when the parents were in school, back to school lists now include ear buds, accounting calculators, tablets, and other technology, too. And did we even mention school dress attire yet? It gets expensive and overwhelming fast.
But there are practical solutions to save money and help the environment. To make your back-to-school shopping less costly—and less complicated—here are 4 tips for getting the kids prepped for another new year while instilling the value of saving the environment and taking advantage of reused items.
5 Tips on Going Green for Back to School
1. Buy from Eco-Committed Retailers & Suppliers.
Start by researching online. There might be bulk opportunities and bargains from retailers and suppliers who are clearly eco-conscious and sell products made from reused items, recycled products, or by using fewer natural resources.
Form a group—formally through the PTA or informally with parents of your kids’ peers—and buy supplies in large quantities. You save money, get to meet more people in the community, share reused items, and help the environment by reducing the number of car trips made to search for supplies.
Some easily accessible retailers that report a commitment to environmental sustainability include Best Buy, Office Depot, Staples, and Walmart.
2. Consider Version 2.0 Clothing & Uniforms.
How many parents find themselves dismayed that last year’s uniforms and dress code appropriate clothing looks like new, yet the legs and sleeves are too short and the shirt hems too high? How can kids grow so much in a single year?
Some school districts organize swap meets where reused items like clothes and uniforms can be traded, sold, and bought. There are local Facebook parent groups, Facebook marketplace and other social media sites that have families searching for and selling gently worn kids’ clothing.
Consignment stores, pop up sales and flea markets, located all around the Dallas-Fort Worth area, are also excellent sources for the required back to school wardrobe. Plus, by buying and trading clothing you are saving money and saving natural resources. A focus on upcycling reused items is a cornerstone of environmental success!
3. Bag It or Box It?
For younger kids (this will never sell to a teenager!), help them pick out a cool lunch box. Compared to the standard brown bag, lunch boxes as reused items reduce the amount of trash at the school. One report says that just by eliminating all that daily wasted plastic and paper, your child can save 67 pounds of garbage a year. With thousands of kids going back to school and bringing lunches every day, that saves a lot of space in our landfills!
4. Get Involved in Awareness and Education.
Lastly, one of the most important actions a parent can take is to get involved with your children’s schools, teachers, and Parent-Teacher Associations. Through engagement and education, you can grow awareness about the value and validity of reducing, recycling, and making good on reused items. If enough parents and children speak up, the school and organizations may be inspired to initiate programs to encourage eco-friendly school supplies district-wide recycling programs.
Heading back to school doesn’t mean you have to break your budget or compromise on your environmental values. With a little bit of research and planning, you can find school supplies, uniforms, other clothing, like-new reused items, and everything else your children need. You’ll be the winner of the coolest parent award by saving money, throwing away less packaging, and helping our precious environment.
Recycle for Revenue with Texas Recycling
Is your family ready for heading back to school? Texas Recycling can help you raise money for all the supplies you need when you sell your bulk recyclables at our Public Buy Back Center. Small businesses and individuals can turn their trash into treasure. We also have commercial or industrial recycling programs. To learn more or to set up a volume-based commercial recycling program and regular pickups, call 214-357-0262.