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Back to School: Sustainable Shopping Guide

5 min read

The magic of a new academic year is almost here. We get it: your long and growing checklist equals the thrill your child feels about new backpacks and supplies. Amidst the excitement of a new school year, there can be aa bit of chaos involved in rounding up all those school essentials. Our back-to-school guide is here to help you get organized and highlight sustainable school supplies you might need. By shopping mindfully, you can fuel your child’s creativity and excitement while modeling sustainability as the new stylish.

The Rise of Sustainable Fashion: Thrifting & Vintage Clothes

Our back-to-school guide begins with school clothes, one of the most expensive and environmentally damaging items on your shopping list. But you can blend savings, style, and sustainability instead. Welcome to the world of thrift shopping, where sustainability and the hottest fashion trends go hand in hand. Fashion-savvy kids of all ages embrace vintage and Y2K styles as must-have trends. They are celebrating the value of sustainability as cutting-edge cool. So, your back-to-school shopping list doesn't have to include a parade of new and pricy items — instead, it can be an exciting treasure hunt through vintage clothes racks.

From a classic denim jacket for your high schooler to a cute Mickey Mouse patched dress for your kindergarten star, vintage sustainable shopping offers something for everyone. And while you're at it, how about restyling that vintage AC/DC t-shirt with a delicate chain fringe for your college-aged fashionista? Get your kid involved and use embroidery, sew-on patches, fabric paint, scissors, to reflect your child’s personality. By opting for pre-loved clothing, you not only offer a second life to these items, reducing waste, but you’re also bagging unique items that add distinct style to your children's wardrobes.

The Essentials: Sustainable School Supplies

The next stop in our sustainable back-to-school guide is the heart of school shopping — all those supplies. Long gone are the days when eco-friendly meant bland or brittle. Sustainable school supplies are as vibrant, reliable, and durable as the classics. And they come with the bonus of being kind to our planet.

  • Eco-friendly Pencils: Consider swapping out traditional pencils for those made from sustainably harvested wood, recycled newspapers, or even plastic bottles. They are durable, offering the same smooth writing experience, and bonus — they keep additional waste out of the landfill.
  • Green Pencil Sharpener: There’s no better way to put a fine point on your eco-friendly pencil than with a bamboo pencil sharpener.
  • Notebooks: Choose notebooks made from recycled paper or sustainably sourced materials. These eco-friendly options are perfect for every writing need and are a step towards saving our forests.
  • Backpacks: Opt for backpacks made from recycled materials or responsibly sourced fibers. These durable and stylish bags carry books and a message of environmental responsibility.
  • Sustainable Crayons: Traditional crayons are chemically tinted paraffin made from petroleum products. Look for soy and vegan crayons made with mineral pigments for non-toxic, eco-friendly creativity.

Every green choice you make in shopping sustainably for school supplies is a step towards a healthier planet and a brighter future.

Eat Sustainably: Sustainable Lunchbox and Cutlery Sets

Lunchtime is an often-overlooked aspect of sustainable school supplies. But, each school day, discarded wrappers, plastic baggies, and utensils create a mountain of waste. Our back-to-school guide encourages you to think differently. Enter the world of sustainable lunch boxes and cutlery sets, turning mealtime into an eco-friendly experience. Lunch supplies made of non-plastic and non-toxic materials like stainless steel and bamboo are good for the earth and healthier for your child. They're free of harmful chemicals in plastic and are a stylish, practical addition to your back-to-school shopping list.

Get Crafty: DIY Suggestions for a Sustainable School Year

Our final back-to-school guide tip for shopping sustainably takes us to the DIY world. Parents can inspire their kids with creative solutions that are both fun and sustainable — especially when done with them. From green school supplies to eco-friendly holiday decorations, sustainable shopping doesn't end at the store. It can extend to your crafting table:

  • Craft a pencil pouch using fabric scraps, making it a trendy addition to your child's school supplies.
  • Cover textbooks in the Sunday comics; they’ll look cool and can be recycled at the end of the year.
  • Create a DIY desk organizer from empty tin cans, painted and tied together with jute.
  • Sew reusable cloth snack bags, perfect for small treats and easy to clean.
  • Make a laptop sleeve from recycled jeans, bonus points when you keep the pockets and belt loops for added style.
  • Repurpose last year's school supplies, giving them a second life with a fresh coat of paint or new decorations.

Kids are endlessly inventive. Encourage yours to help brainstorm ideas for more DIY sustainable school supplies.

Beyond Shopping: Sustainability in Action

Our sustainable back-to-school guide is just a start. Sustainability shouldn’t end when the school bell rings on the first day. Involve your kids in making eco-friendly choices throughout the school year. Carpooling, biking, or walking to school helps to reduce their carbon footprint and provides health benefits too.

They can become sustainability champions, encouraging their peers to recycle, starting a “going green” club, and taking other eco-friendly initiatives. Sustainability isn't just about buying; it's about lifestyle. Make the green journey an integral part of their learning process.

As we wrap up this back-to-school guide, we hope you're inspired to infuse this season with eco-friendly options. Each sustainable shopping choice — a vintage denim jacket, a pencil made of recycled newspaper, or a bamboo cutlery set — creates a ripple of change. Every step, from sustainable pencils to eco-friendly house renovations, counts towards building a sustainable future. May the year ahead be filled with learning, growth, and greener choices. Here's to a fantastic — and sustainable — school year!

As you prepare to send the kiddos off to school, take a moment to verify that your homeowner’s insurance policy is up to date. One of our friendly Wawanesa agents will be happy to assist you.

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