Back to School /Back to Work: How to have a more sustainable routine

Whether online or in-person, you can still have a ‘back-to-school’ and ‘back-to-work’ experience that is healthy not just for you and your family but the planet too! With summer coming to a close, many of us are thinking ahead to the coming months. Getting back into a balanced routine is important for our wellbeing, and here’s how you can create a positive impact on the environment whilst doing so. 

1. Eco-Friendly School and Office Supplies

Opt for supplies that use minimal packaging, are made from recycled materials, and are durable enough to last for years to come. Vegan, sustainable, plastic-free, recycled, reusable, zero-waste office and school supplies are out there (we know it can feel a bit overwhelming sometimes, so many labels to be mindful of). But hopefully, we can help with these ideas to get you started:

  • Eco-friendly wooden pencils (Sprout Pencils). Made from sustainably sourced wood, they are biodegradable and thus eco-friendly. These are also lead-free, so they are non-toxic.
  • Switch from the standard plastic ring binders to 100% recycled chipboard binders and reduce your environmental impact at school, work, or home. Made from 100% recycled corrugated cardboard. The covers can be composted, and the metal rings can be recycled at the end of their long life. Check those out!
  • You’ll never have to buy staples again with a waste-free stapler from Paper Clinch (available at most office supply stores). Fastens paper without the use of staples which means you can save money as well as the environment. 
  • Bamboo rulers, pencils, and pens from Onyx and Green. Switch to sustainably sourced materials for your office needs. They even have plant-based glue that is non-toxic, so a perfect swap for children. 
  • One final tip, instead of online shopping, choose to purchase your items as locally as possible. Keep your shopping trip green by grabbing a reusable shopping bag before you leave the house too!

2. Purchase pre-loved clothing

The used clothing market has exploded lately, offering your children, regardless of age, a wide array of pre-owned clothing options, from online thrift stores and social media platforms to high-end resale sites and outlet malls.

Whilst being earth-friendly, the second-hand clothing route to school clothing is also budget-friendly, with costs being significantly lower than purchasing clothes brand new in stores.

Another way to stay green is to be aware of how you dispose of the clothing your child has outgrown in an environmentally responsible manner. Depending on the condition of the used clothing, you can swap, donate, or sell used clothing and up-cycle or recycle worn or unwanted items.

3. Walk/Bike to school/work

Setting aside time to volunteer not only benefits the community but is

If you are back to work and your child is attending school in person, start off on the right foot by walking or biking if you can. Not only will this benefit your own physical and mental wellbeing, but the environment will thank you for it. 

One way to make the walk to school fun is to check out your local Walking to School Bus. This involves a few adults supervising a group of children on their walk to school. 

If you need to drive, don’t forget to turn off your engine when in the pickup or dropoff line. Car-idling, even for very short periods of time, is a significant contributor to air pollution.

4. Pack a waste-free lunch

Instead of relying on plastic disposable food containers and bags, use reusable, long-lasting alternatives for utensils, food containers, beverages, even straws. Or go compostable with our fully compostable cutlery sets and tableware here.

Be mindful of plastic consumption and buy loose fruit and vegetables where possible! This is a great way to support local farmers and fill up on yummy local produce. Check out your closest farmers’ market. You never know what amazing produce you can find.

During that morning coffee run, don’t forget to bring your reusable coffee mug. Many places even offer discounts to those who bring their own. According to Green Motion USA, hundreds of thousands of coffee cups are thrown into the recycling bin every day. However, most people don’t recognize that these cups are not recyclable, and the USA alone throws away around 25billion of them each year.

 

Every little helps when it comes to the environment, and every single choice you make has an impact. 

What earth-friendly habits are you going to follow to end this year on a high note?

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