Did you know that, according to a recent National Retail Federation consumer survey, total back-to-school spending by families with children in grades K-12 is expected to reach $22.8 billion! It is considered the second biggest consumer spending event for retailers behind the winter holidays. I am not suggesting we send our kids back to school with a bunch of old pencil stubs and last year’s binder with the broken spine, but by purchasing gently used clothing, goods made with recycled materials, and focusing new purchases on reusable items, we can save money and reduce waste.
Our friends at CleanScapes put together this great list of resources to help those heading back to school reduce waste and save money. I am not one to re-create the wheel so I thank them for what I am about to pass on….
Clothing. Let the treasure hunt begin! Shop first at home – is there anything that can be used again from last year’s school days? Organize a clothing swap event with friends and trade old favorites.
Another way to help conserve resources is by supporting the second-hand marketplace. For both vintage and modern styles, the sky is the limit on what you might find at second-hand stores, garage sales and on websites like Craigs List, Ebay and Freecycle.
Supplies. Start with what you already have and reuse as much as you can. For a new look, add flair to last year’s backpack, binder, lunchbox or folder with doodle art, stickers, decoupage projects and permanent markers. You can also organize a supply swap or decoration party with friends.
If you can’t find something made from recycled products, consider sustainable sources like bamboo.
Eat for success and reduce packaging waste by packing lunches with food from local producers.
Heels and wheels. Your mode of transportation has a direct impact on your carbon footprint. If you live close to school, be a ‘tread’-setter and skip the car. Walk, bike, bus, skate or organize a carpool with friends!