The end of August marks the back to school rush, with most parents looking to replace old uniforms and get their kids stocked up on everything they’ll need for the upcoming year. But with most shops offering huge ranges of new back to school products, it can be hard to keep your green head screwed on. Here are a few guidelines to sending the kids back to school the green way.
One of the main purchases when sending the kids back to school is uniform, particularly if they are primary school age, or about to start a new school. Passing down uniforms to younger children is a great way of extending the life of perfectly useable clothing. If an item has become too small for all of your children, why not give them to a friend with children at the same school?
Clothes swapping, or “swishing” has exploded in popularity in the world of fashion. Why not help introduce it to the world of money and environmentally-conscious parents? Try organising a clothes swapping evening amongst fellow parents, which can help you to save money and keep good quality school uniforms from becoming waste.
Before buying new uniform, remember that local charity shops often end up with a range of clothing for local schools around this time of year, helping you to save money, support a worthwhile cause and reduce your demand upon new resources.
Any school uniform which still fits but has become worn can often be repaired with a needle and thread, so consider this before you throw any clothes away.
It’s easy to get wrapped up in all the shiny new stationary that shops have to offer at the end of the summer holidays, but often, your kids current stationary is in perfect working order for another year. If they do need anything new, take a look in local charity shops for pencil cases and good quality stationary. Often, pens and pencils will be plentiful around the home, so give these to the kids and encourage them to take care of them and to make them last. Better quality stationary will not only last for longer, but should teach your children to look after items rather than become a part of the “throwaway culture” that has become endemic in much of the western world.
Click here for more tips on how to green your stationary around the home!
The school run
A new school year is a great opportunity to green up the way your kids get to school. If you usually drive your children to the school gate, why not offer a lift to any local classmates? By alternating lifts with their parents you can save petrol and reduce your collective carbon emissions.
If your school is reasonably nearby, it could be worth turning over a new leaf and walking or cycling to school. Join other parents and children to make the school run more sociable and fun, and you’ll find yourself enjoying fresh air and exercise whilst saving money and minimizing your car’s emissions.
Keeping school lunches green is an important part of getting back to school the green way. Where possible, choose locally sourced, organic produce for your kids lunches which will be both healthy and carry minimal food miles. A good way to ensure your children’s lunches are both green and good quality is to try a delicious recipe for organic produce and divide it into portions to eat during the week. This means that the whole family can enjoy home cooked food as part of their packed lunch, free of processed ingredients or excessive packaging.
Other great additions to their packed lunch can include organic fruit or even fair trade chocolate.
Part of creating an eco friendly packed lunch for your children to take to school is minimizing your reliance on disposable packaging. Try a high quality lunch box from Swiss flask makers, Sigg, or a funky recycled lunch bag from Eco Snack Wrap, who’s bright colours are bound to appeal to children of all ages.
Teaching kids the importance of being green
If living an eco friendly lifestyle is important to you, chances are your kids have grown up learning the importance of being environmentally aware too. Use the back to school rush to teach them the importance of making greener choices when buying their clothes, stationary etc. Growing up being shown the importance of making greener choices increases their likelihood of continuing their greener habits into adulthood. There’s no harm in making sure they know about their school’s recycling programmes or teaching them to turn off unused lights in the classroom as well as at home, and being environmentally aware at school can help them to maintain good habits in the future.
Click here for more information on teaching your kids how to be green.
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