It’s that time of year; summer is winding down, the kids are starting to groan about school starting again, and you’ve been patiently waiting for the back-to-school tax holiday to get those high-ticket items. Take advantage of Thursday, July 29 through Saturday, July 31 to get your little learner what he or she needs to succeed tax-free. We’re also going to explore eco-friendly options for back-to-school shopping that will save you some money and positively impact the environment.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
The 3 Rs is a wonderful strategy to work into all parts of your day-to-day living; why stop when shopping for the new school year? With the rise of reusable eating utensil kits, washable and biodegradable straws, and smart water bottles, along with being conscious of single-use consumer products, you can significantly reduce your footprint on the environment by following the reduce, reuse, and recycle rules, especially when it comes to lunchtime shopping. Reusable is the real winner of the three in my opinion; you not only save money by reusing, but you reduce your waste production too (remember, Bug Bite Thing is reusable too!).
Whether your kids are heading back to the classroom or studying remotely from home, hygiene and proper sanitation practices are important. Many hand sanitizers, furniture (think your desk, sharing school supplies, etc.), fragrant air sprays, and disinfectants can contain harsh chemicals that irritate the skin and our respiratory tracts, or possibly lead to more serious health problems. Always check the labels for ingredients before buying.
Buyer beware: the FDA does not require approval or for companies to list out the chemicals used in “fragrances” on product packaging, so do your research on fda.gov for a deep dive into all the chemicals that are included in cosmetics and skincare. Some natural cleaning alternatives include white vinegar, lemon juice, plant-derived oils, and baking soda for abrasive cleaning.
This one is a gold mine. Look past the often-musky smell of thrift stores and the disorganized heaps of used goods and you can walk away with a trove of back-to-school essentials for pennies! Clothes? Check! Not every thrift store will have your kid’s style, and that’s OK! Make an adventure out of thrifting and hunt down a few in your local community; you NEVER know what you will find. You can also find supplies for school projects, school supplies, desk appliances, furniture, and more for incredibly cheap. Tying this back to the 3 Rs above, you can really go greener by recycling and reusing amazing thrift store finds (and then reuse it all over again!).
Buy Used Books
You don’t have to have a college age student to know how expensive textbooks can be! There are plenty of places online to hunt out used books that often reduce the price up to 25% off. If you can, have a look inside the book if you are buying in person to check for damage, notes, highlights, etc. Buying used books online usually have a description on the quality of the book. The best part: when your kid has finished the textbook for the year, sell it away to help buy next year’s books!
Cars are nearly unavoidable the way our cities and towns are laid out. If you are fortunate enough to live near your child’s school, walk with him or her to school, or get them a bicycle to cut down on the pollution from burning gas. Also, do not idle in the pick-up lane, or in front of your kid’s school as you wait in your car. Your car left in idle produces A LOT of smog. Combine that with the heavy school bus traffic coming in and out of the school, the air can become quite toxic in some of the most student-dense areas of campus. Help lessen the pollution by being conscious of how and where you run your vehicle.
What’s the best part about all of this (besides being environmentally responsible and saving some money along the way)? You’re teaching your kids extremely valuable practices that they can continue to implement throughout their lives as they grow. You don’t need to be an eco-warrior to make a difference, and back-to-school season is the perfect time to practice getting greener!