It’s my favorite time of year again...back to school! I love seeing the kids who are full of excitement to see their friends, meet new teachers, and fill their backpacks with new school supplies. But when it comes to buying school supplies, how do parents make their choices?!?
Unfortunately, I no longer get to buy school supplies for myself – which means no colorful pens, themed folders, flashy lunch pail, or list from a teacher telling my parents that I have to get these supplies because my education depends on it! And although I long for the days where I had the chance to stock up on the latest supplies, I find myself living vicariously through my 8 year old niece and 5 year old nephew by helping shop for their school supplies – at least while my opinion still counts!
This year I was in charge of checking off items on the infamous list. As we carefully selected each required item, I examined the options that were available. Most of the supplies were the same ones I had to choose from when I was in grade school, but others were made from recycled material or were reusable. I have to admit I was a little shocked. I can’t tell you how many times my sister, Aurora, and I looked at each other with jealousy over what could have been in our school days. I was impressed with the amount of environmentally-friendly products that were offered at such reasonable prices and happy that my niece and nephew have the opportunity to make environmentally conscience school shopping decisions.
Here are 5 easy ways you and your child can start the school year off right by making environmentally-friendly choices:
1. School Supplies: Purchase notebook paper, folders, and pencils made from 100% recycled material.
2. Water Bottle: Purchase BPA-free reusable water bottles made from stainless steel or aluminum (which are 100% recyclable).
3. Lunch: Reusable containers like Tupperware, cotton fabric food-safe sandwich bags, cloth napkins, and aluminum foil.
4. Printing: Recycle printer ink cartridges by having them refilled at the local print shop. This also saves your household money by avoiding purchasing brand new cartridges.
5. Transportation: Travel to school via carpools or riding the bus. Parents can share the duties of getting children to and from school by carpooling. This saves gas, time, and as a result fewer cars are on the roadways. Remember to be idle free when waiting in the school pick up line.
To learn more about how you and your child can make environmentally-friendly choices at school, home and work, check out the “Stewardship Clips” on the Harbor WildWatch You Tube channel. You can also let you teacher know about our free marine science workshops for elementary and middle schools. With 20 workshops to choose from, these interactive workshops meet current science standards and students develop a sense of place and stewardship for Puget Sound. Our motto is “Learn. Have Fun.” and your students will do both!
Stephanie McCaffery, Naturalist