The Low Waste Back to School Guide
Can you believe we're already in mid-August?!
September is right around the corner which means the new school year is quickly approaching.
This year will definitely be different, and although we are living in uncertain times, we are trying our best to stay safe while establishing a sense of normality.
For some, that may look homeschooling and online classes. For others, it means returning to the classroom.
This week, we are auditing our schoolbags, pencil cases and lunchboxes! If you are looking for ways to reduce waste we have some great alternatives to help you do so below!
IMAGE SOURCE | PARKLANDMFG
BACKPACKS + PENCIL CASES + LUNCH BAGS
APPLE PARK | Apple Park is very aware of how every purchase we make impacts the future of our children. When designing their backpacks and lunch bags they consider our forests, water purity, preservation of natural habitats and reduction of waste in landfills. Plus, due to the rise of asthma and other medical issues in children, Apple Park backpacks are all made of 100% certified organic cotton and are free of harmful chemicals. They have a long and impressive list of certifications so be sure to check them out!
PARKLAND | The exterior of Parkland backpacks and lunch bags are made of 100% recycled water bottles. Their mission is to encourage sustainably in a stylish and purposeful way. Their leather diamonds, as seen on the first photo, are now made from apple waste (a byproduct of juice production) making them 100% vegan as well! They are built to last and offer a lifetime warranty on all their products just in case!
FJALLRAVEN | Fjällräven believes in "leaving basecamp in better condition than we found it". Each design is made with the environment in mind. From selecting the right material to deciding where production will take place. Their backpacks, pencils cases and laptop cases are made with recycled material and are built to last a lifetime. For areas that are exposed to extra wear, Fjällräven designers ensure that they can be easily repaired.
YOOBI | Sometimes sustainability means more than zero waste living and means investing in our children's future. For every pencil case sold, Yoobi will provide a (U.S.) child with the school supplies needed to succeed! In partnership with the Kids In Need Foundation, they have donated millions of school supplies across the U.S.
BACKPACK + PENCIL CASE AUDIT
Have you ever wondered where all our used up pens and highlighters go once they've served their purpose? If you haven't (which I don't blame you because, to be honest, I hadn't either) I would recommend reading through Pen and the Planet by Michael Bloch on Green Living Tips!
RESOURCE ALERT | TERRACYCLE
While researching I came across TerraCycle. TerraCycle is a free recycling program funded by brands such as Sharpie and Paper Mate. They help collect & properly recycle your hard-to-recycle waste! I've just signed up my self, and am super excited to start collecting. Be sure to check them out for more information!
NOW ON TO THE SWAPS...
PENS + PENCILS + SHARPENERS
GOOD EARTH | Good Earth is sold exclusively at Indigo and provides bamboo, wheat straw, cork, wood anddd, kraft paper selection. Their pens are beautifully crafted and fairly priced.
GREENCILES | Made from 100% recycled paper, Greenciles uses zero wood in the production of their pencils!
SPROUT | These pencils are so COOL! When your Sprout pencil has become too short to use, just plant it (again, yes, you read that right). Your pencil will then grow into a beautiful flower, herbs or even fresh vegetables! You can also have them custom made for special events making them a great addition to loot bags and gift packs.
ONYX AND GREEN | The body of these ballpoint pens are made from bamboo while the clip and tip are made from corn-based plastics! The packaging is made from recycled kraft paper and printed with soy-based inks.
MING PRODUCTIONS | This bamboo 5 hole sharpener is not only eco, but also super convenient!
STUBBY PENCIL STUDIO | Have you heard about Eco Highlighter Pencils yet!? These are sustainably and responsibly made in Austria, using wood from managed forests. They are free of plastic, ink solvents and have a natural finish, making them 100% biodegradable.
STABILO | If you're not ready to switch to highlighter pencils just yet, Stabilo uses 85% recycled plastics and offer refills!
NOTEBOOKS + PAPER
DECOMPOSITION | These super fun notebooks are made of 100% post-consumer waste recycled paper. The beautiful covers are printed with soy ink and are available bound or spiralled.
MR.ELLIE POOH | This notebook is by far the most interesting! Made from 30% fibre from elephant dung (yes, you read that right) and 70% recycled paper! There are no toxics or chemicals used during production and the coloured paper is made from water-soluble salt dyes!
UNRULED | Unruled notebooks are made of post-consumer recycled material which helps decrease manufacturing energy by 50%. Bonus, for every 3 notebooks sold, Unruled plants a tree in the Amazon Rainforest!
BINDERS + FOLDERS
Although I would typically recommend NAKED BINDER, it is made from 100% recycled board and can not be sanitized. We do try to avoid PVC and plastics as much as possible, but our kiddies need to stay safe & that means plastic binders that can be sanitized correctly.
WHITEOUT + ERASERS
KORES | I was unable to find this item on the Kores website although it seems to still be available on Amazon. I'm not thrilled about the packaging but, the casing is made from 100% liquid wood making it biodegradable.
BIC | This whiteout casing is made from recycled plastics and plant-based materials such as corn and wood from managed forests.
THE ULTIMATE GREE STORE | These eco-friendly erasers are made from 100% recycled rubber (50% post-industrial, 50% post-consumer) The packaging is also 95% biodegradable and printed with soy-based ink on 100% post-industrial recycled paper.
SCISSORS + RULERS
The most durable and sustainable options for both scissors and rulers would be swap plastic for metal!
LUNCH BAG AUDIT
IMAGE SOURCE | @PARKLANDMFG
PRO TIP: ADD A SPONGE CLOTH TO YOUR SNACK BAG
If your kiddo is picky about his/her fruit moisture levels, then we have just the quick fix you've been looking for! Just add a Sponge Cloth to the inside of your reusable bag! The Sponge Cloth will soak up any extra moisture and condensation and will keep your berries fresh all day long!
STASHER | Stasher bags are made with high-quality silicone. It does not degrade and can be used in the microwave, freezer and dishwasher. They are BPA, BPS and lead-free as well! Bonus, every Stasher sold goes straight to high-impact nonprofits like Surfrider and 5 Gyers, that are dedicated to preserving and rehabilitating our oceans.
BUMPKINS | Bumpkin had their start in the diaper industry in 1989 and have continued to offer amazing product till this day! They reimagine single-use products and redesign them with the environment in mind. Free of harmful chemicals and filling materials.
PACKIT | PackIt offers a heavy-duty snack bag. I would say they're snack bags are more like mini coolers. From lunch boxes to small snack bags, PACKIT will keep your snacks cool all day long. Their products are responsibly made and free of toxic substances such as PVC, BPA, phthalates and lead.
PLANETBOX | Founded by parents frustrated with single-use plastic, PlanetBox looks for ways to simplify lunchtime prep and make it possible to pack snacks that you can feel good about. Made with non-toxic material, stainless steel and food-safe silicone, each container comes with a 5-year warranty so you can feel confident your child's lunches are staying fresh and cool!
ECOLUNCHBOX BENTO WET BOX | No plastic, no leaks! This stainless steel container holds 40-oz and is specifically designed for saucy meals. It is leak-proof and dishwasher safe!
GOODEE | Designed for kids ages 4 and up, this set includes a fork, knife and spoon. Made from FSC-certified bamboo fibre and 100% food-grade melamine. This cutlery set is super durable, recycled and made of natural materials.
MIZU | This stainless steel set is perfect for anyone on the go! It is BPA free and 100% recyclable! Made with food-grade stainless steel, this set is super sturdy and easy to clean.
HYDRO FLASK | Just the right size for little hands. This double-walled, stainless steel and vacuum insulated bottle will keep your littles drinks cold for hours! Equipped with an easy-sip straw lid, this reusable bottle is perfect for any age.
S'IP by S'WELL | Stainless steel, BPA free, double-walled and best of all, eco-friendly! S'well has hundreds of designs that your kids will love!
WELLY | I recommend this one for high school, college and uni students. Welly bottles are beautifully designed and made stainless steel and bamboo. The removable infuser can brew tea or naturally flavour water with fruit.