Let’s talk – back to school!
The preparation for the back to school period can be daunting for many parents. There are a number of different things you need to buy in the lead up to back to school and school policies that need to be considered, these can change between years and vary between school.
When you are doing your back to school shopping, are you also thinking about the impact that these choices make? Whether your choices are eco-friendly and sustainable for the environment?
It’s understandable that it not be the first thing on your mind, after-all it’s a busy time especially if you have multiple children with different needs to get organised.
Check out these tips for an eco-friendly back to school period.
REUSE BEFORE BUYING
There are always going to be things you need to buy at the start of the year, however it’s definitely worth having a good look through what you already have first to reduce the amount that you need to buy.
If you still have a pencil case full of pencils and stationery, don’t go out and buy more. Use up what you have first and then at a later date when really necessary purchase a new set.
The same goes for school bags and lunch boxes.
Have you seen the price of uniforms? They are not cheap!
Why not check out your local schools uniform shop or your local buy/swap/sell page to see if you can pick up a uniform or two secondhand.
This means that you are not only saving money but you are also repurposing items that may end up being thrown out if someone doesn’t grab them.
CREATE A ‘ECO-FRIENDLY’ LUNCH-BOX
Say goodbye to cling wrap and sandwich bags. These are not only unable to be recycled but they are also single use which means over the duration of a school year you are spending a lot of money on plastic items that end up in landfill. There are many alternatives now to cling wrap, a well sealed eco lunch box for starters can eliminate the need to wrap food but for those items that do need to be sealed for freshness there are Beeswax wraps available and also vegan wraps from stores like biome.com.au. If cutlery is required check out the bamboo cutlery options and include a linen napkin instead of single use paper napkins.
REUSABLE DRINK BOTTLES
Glass bottles and some heavy based stainless drink bottles are not allowed in schools (for obvious reasons), however making sure you invest in a good reusable drink bottle will help reduce the amount of waste you are creating and is also fun for kids as they can choose their favourite themes.
RECYCLE ITEMS THAT CAN’T BE REUSED
Office works recently announced a recycling program for pens and markers to stop these going to landfill. This program isn’t available at all stores yet so check locally to see what your options are. This program also accepts printer ink cartridges, mobile phones, batteries and e-waste such as laptops and computers. Click here for more information.
BUY SNACKS IN BULK
Instead of buying the smaller, lunchbox sized snacks buy in bulk and separate into smaller containers or even better take your own containers and shop at the bulk food store. It also works out more affordable doing it this way as you are not paying the higher price for the convenience of lunch box sized snacks.
Many sunscreens contain toxic chemicals that are not only bad for our children’s health but can also damage the environment, especially our reef systems. This is something to keep in mind if your children are out for an excursion to the beach.
These are the ingredients you want to avoid when choosing your child’s sunscreen:
- 4-methylbenzylidine Camphor
WALK INSTEAD OF DRIVE
Obviously this one is dependent on your location to schools, playgroups and activities but if it is do-able it’s a no-brainer. Better for your health, reduces fuel consumption, reduces traffic on the road, wear and tear on the tyres and is great for the kids.
CHOOSE ECO-FRIENDLY & NON-TOXIC
When the time comes to start buying, try and look for items that are eco-friendly and non-toxic across the board, whether its lunchboxes, backpacks, pencil cases or pencils there are always eco-options out there if you do a little research.
Get the kids involved on the process and let them choose items that they like within the eco-friendly range, something and that they will be happy to look after and use everyday. The better care they take with their belongings – the longer they should last.
Don’t forget to check out our small business collective on the website to connect with our eco-community www.familyecolife.com.au/all-businesses
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