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Sustainable Back to School: A Checklist for Parents and Students

Back-to-school season is a time of excitement for many families, well maybe not for the kids, but it can also be a time of larger environmental impact. According to the National Retail Federation, Americans spent an estimated $37.8 billion on back-to-school supplies in 2021.

The good news is that there are many ways to go back to school in a sustainable way. By making a few simple choices, you can reduce your environmental impact and help protect the planet for future generations.


First up - School Supplies

When it comes to school supplies, there are a few things you can do to make more sustainable choices.

  • Use what you already have. Before you go out and buy new school supplies, take a look at what you already have. You may be surprised at how much you can find that you can reuse.

  • Buy recycled or sustainable products. There are many school supplies available that are made from recycled materials or sustainable resources. This is a great way to reduce your environmental impact and support businesses that are committed to sustainability.

  • Choose reusable products. Instead of buying disposable products like notebooks, opt for reusable alternatives. This will help you reduce your waste and save money in the long run.

  • Support local businesses. When you buy your school supplies from local businesses, you are helping to support your community and reduce your carbon footprint.


Next - Clothing

Of the almost $38 billion spent on back to school supplies, $11.2 billion was spent on clothing.

The clothing industry is a major contributor to environmental problems. The production of clothing requires a lot of water, energy, and chemicals. It also produces a lot of waste.

Here are a few tips for buying sustainable clothing:

  • Buy secondhand. This is the most sustainable way to buy clothing. You can find great deals on secondhand clothing at thrift stores, consignment shops, and online marketplaces.

  • Choose organic cotton. Organic cotton is grown without the use of harmful pesticides and fertilizers. It is a more sustainable option than conventional cotton.

  • Look for Fair Trade clothing. Fair Trade clothing is produced under fair labor conditions. This means that the workers who produce the clothing are paid a fair wage and have safe working conditions.

  • Choose sustainable materials. There are a number of sustainable materials that can be used to make clothing, such as hemp, bamboo, and recycled polyester.

Finally - Transportation

The way you get to school can also have an impact on the environment.

  • If you can, walk, bike, or take public transportation (like your school bus) to school. This will help reduce your carbon footprint and improve your health.

  • Consider carpooling or vanpooling with other families if you do need to drive to school. This will help you reduce the number of cars on the road.

By following these tips, you can make a difference in the environment and help protect the planet for future generations. Even small changes can add up to make a big impact.

This back-to-school season, make a commitment to sustainability.


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