It’s easy to go green at home by recycling, composting, and bringing your own bags to the grocery store, but once that the kids are off to school, maintaining earth-friendly habits can be a challenge. It’s important to follow the “Three Rs” philosophy both at home and at school: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. After all, 20 percent of Americans –more than 63 million people – attend school each day, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
Many schools around the county are striving for better sustainability through solar power construction and rainwater collection. Even if your school hasn’t jumped on to the green bandwagon, these easy ways to go green will help to ensure that your family does its share:
Eco-Friendly Lunch Containers
One of the best ways to “green” your child’s lunch is by investing in reusable containers, including the lunchbox itself. That means no more brown-bagging. Instead, buy a washable, insulated lunch bag that’s labeled as “PVC-free.” Avoid plastic baggies, packages and foil wraps. Reduce your waste by packing lunch in containers that can be brought home, washed, and reused. Look for plastics that are labeled as “BPA-free.”
Re-Use School Supplies
Before buying every item on the school supply list, take a look at what may be left over from last year. Does your child really need a brand new pencil box? Is last year’s lunchbox still good? Before buying any new school supplies, take an inventory of what you have that could carry over to this year. You’ll reduce waste and save a lot of money, too!
Weigh Your Eco-Friendly Options
Although some school items such as pencils, pens and paper, are necessary, you can make green choices. When you’re shopping for school supplies, choose paper, notebooks and folders made from recycled paper. Hint: The higher the percentage of post-consumer recycled content, the better. Instead of disposable pens, choose refillable models. Even pencils have gone green: Many companies offer biodegradable writing instruments or pencils crafted from recycled materials.
Make a Difference
If your child’s school isn’t fully green yet, you can still make a difference. Join with other parents to create a recycling program, a garden on school grounds, or to start an energy efficiency club. When it comes to protecting the Earth, every little step counts.