Tips on How To Make Back to School More Sustainable
Back to School is all fun and games. It’s fun picking out new outfits, school supplies, and household items for your new apartment or residence room. That is until you think about the environmental impact of all those new items you’ve purchased…
- The plastic writing utensils that will be on our planet for another gazillion years
- The polyester T-shirt that’s going to last only a few seasons until it wears out or the trend goes out of style
- The lampshade that was mass produced overseas and packaged in wads of plastic
*Fun fact: Did you know that about 35% of landfills are composed of packaging materials?
Thankfully back to school time can be both fun and sustainable. Here are some simple tips/ideas to make going back to school this year more sustainable:
Tip #1: Thrift First
You can find items such as lightly used kitchen appliances, dishes, lamps, furniture and even decorations like vases or paintings at your local re-store. When looking for new clothing for the school year, or household items you need for your apartment or resident’s room – try looking at the re-store first. Not only is this a cost-effective option, but you’re also being kind to the planet!
Tip #2: Try Paperless Note-taking
We’re here at school, so that hopefully we can get a job in the future.. But what will the future be if every single student goes through single-use notebooks and plastic pens by the gazillion each semester!?
Programs such as OneNote, Evernote, Wanderlist and Word/OneDrive for your Tablet or Laptop make note-taking, storing, sharing and studying super easy but also paper- & plastic- free! Quizlet is an online program where you can make type up as many cue cards as you like and quiz yourself. If you’re looking for alternate techniques to enhance your study game, definitely give some of these a try.
Tip #3: Look for Eco-Friendly School Supplies
If using a tablet for note-taking isn’t quite your thaang (yet), try to look out for some better-for-this-beautiful-environment school supplies. More and more eco-friendly, non-toxic stationery supplies are becoming available. For example:
- Staples Sustainable Earth Notepads (many other companies exist as well, but this is very accessible)
- Eco-Friendly Highlighter Pencils
- Lead pencils made with recycled materials from Tree Smart
- Pens made from recycled bottles (also from Tree Smart)
*Note: Before splurging on all these awesome eco-friendly school supplies though – make sure you use the ones already sitting around your home first!
These are just a few ways to make getting ready for going back to school easier on the environment.. But this year, I’d really like to see how else I can switch up my routine and create a more sustainable (and still affordable) lifestyle as a student!
Watch out for more posts on student sustainability on the SGA/AGÉ blog and also on our instagram!