- Editor’s Note: This article is written by Kane County Recycling Coordinator Jennifer Jarland. Got a question or idea for a recycling tip? Contact Jarland at 630-208-3841 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
As school starts for students throughout Kane County, now’s a great time to be thinking about what we can do to rethink, reuse and recycle.
Here are six pieces of advice for a “green” 2018-19 school year.
Take Stock of Your School Supplies!
Reuse and repurpose items from last year!
Compromise on the argument for NEW things. They get a new backpack but must REUSE notebooks, pencils, binders, calculators and iPads.
Any old school supplies that you need to get rid of can be donated.
Go Green With School Supplies!
Buy supplies with recycled content!
Look for pens and pencils made from recycled plastic and that are refillable (and I like to stock up on the refills at the same time so they are there when you need them).
Get paper products that have at least 30% post-consumer recycled content. Avoid binders with vinyl covered cardboard, buy recycled-content binders. If you shop online just type in “recycled content” after any item you are looking for.
Develop ‘Fast Fashion’ Sense!
Kids grow like weeds, so buying new clothes from retail stores not only wastes a lot of money for very little value, but “fast fashion” also contributes greatly to both sweatshop labor and waste.
Purchasing clothes from consignment shops and thrift stores is a great way to get more for your money and reduce the environmental impact!
Many stores like Plato’s Closet, Buffalo Exchange, Crossroads Trading and many others specialize in teen and young adult clothing and accessories that are in great condition and trendy.
You might also consider having a clothing swap with your neighbors or co-workers.
Pack Waste-Free Lunches!
Opt for a washable, reusable container to pack your lunch.
Invest in a PVC-free, thermally insulated lunch bag, one made from recycled materials like juice boxes or from organic cotton.
Buy chips and snacks in bulk and lunch portions into reusable containers. Instead of using baggies and plastic wrap for sandwiches and snacks, use reusable plastic containers or an easy to clean Wrap-n-Mat.
Reusable metal drink containers are the way to go and can also be frozen to act as the cold-pack for the lunch!
Textbooks Are Expensive — Buy Used!
Used textbooks are often available for half off or more in campus bookstores, and websites such as eCampus and Amazon Textbook Rentals also carry a broad selection of used titles. (You can search by ISBN, Author or Title.)
Renting or buying used textbooks is an increasingly popular option that helps to reduce the number of books being created, which can save millions of trees.
According to a statement issued by the Environmental Paper Network, “If the U.S. reduced its paper consumption by 10 percent annually, we could save enough energy to power 228,000 homes, conserve 11 billion gallons of water, and prevent carbon emissions equivalent to removing 279,000 cars from the road! Choosing used textbooks can help.”
Start a Conversation!
Include your children in the conversation about why going green is good for them and the planet. They should feel like part of the decision making and not that going green is forced upon them.
Hopefully, because of your thoughtful conversations with your kids, they will make greener, healthier choices when you aren’t there watching over them. It’s the first step towards them becoming a global citizen.
Hope these tips allow you to have a happy and green back-to-school season!
Read More Recycling Tips!
- Recycling Tip: Get The Dirt on How to Recycle Food Scraps!
- Recycling Q&A: ‘AARGH! I’m Surrounded By Plastic!’
- How to Get Rid of Confidential Documents and Shredded Paper
- Recycling Tip: How to Stop Junk Mail For Good!
- Recycling Tip: How to Stop the Scourge of Junk Mail (Part 2)
- How Kane County Residents Can Opt Out of Phone Books
- Recycling Tips: What To Do With Garden-Related Garbage