At the beginning of every school year, your family receives a long list of school supplies you’re supposed to purchase for your child. And after all that back-to-school shopping, you wonder how you can soften your impact on the planet, since so many products come from paper, trees, petroleum, and other planetary resources.
Thankfully, many manufacturers keep a keen eye on being as environmentally responsible as possible. They achieve this by recycling waste to make office and school supplies, as well not including toxic chemicals in manufacturing of items like lunch boxes, certain chemicals used in inks, and drink bottles.
To reinforce your eco-friendly lifestyle, we’ve reviewed a passel of green school supplies so you can take care of your family and your world.
Made from post-consumer materials and tree-free fibers, you’ll find notebooks, legal tablets, and loose leaf paper to fill your school bag while shying away from tree waste. Many papers on the market are made with 100% recycled paper, and some include up to 40% post-consumer materials.
You can also look for the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) stamp on the packaging of your paper or notebooks. This label shows that the product is approved by a key organization working to promote the practice of sustainable forestry worldwide. While paper with this stamp isn’t made from recycled paper, since it’s composed of virgin tree fibers rather than pre- or post-consumer recycled materials, it means that the wood pulp is sourced from a well-managed forest, so it can be just as eco-friendly.
From corn to cardboard and plastic bottles, these pens have earth consciousness written all over them.
- Plastic bottle recycling at its finest, B2P Ball Point pens are made with 83% post-consumer plastic recycled plastic bottles. If using multiple colors for your note-taking helps, they come in lime, pink, green, and turquoise blue, as well as traditional black. They are a great multi-purpose pen, and it’s always the first one I reach for when writing stuff down.
- The Kernel Pen is made from a bio-based corn plastic using 100% organic material. The pen is also recyclable and comes from renewable resources. Adding a dash of cuteness, the push action button is shaped like a cob of corn, reminding you of where it came from.
- Triple Recycled Pens knock it out of the park in terms of using recycled materials. The barrel is made from recycled paper, the clip is made from recycled wood, and the trim is made from recycled plastic. Incredible!
- Backpacks on the market are now being made with a material using RPET (recycled polyethylene terephthalate) water bottles, giving you the perfect eco-friendly bag to take to school and beyond. These bags are also using non-toxic dyes and materials.
- If your personality lends itself to something even quirkier – and you’re the sort to wear your recycling heart on your sleeve – then check out the TerraCycle Doritos Nacho Cheese Chip Messenger Bag! Terracycle creates a range of products by upcycling as many chip bags as possible (and thousands of pounds of other difficult-to-recycle waste) that would otherwise end up in the landfill. This bag is water-resistant, so if you’re a bicyclist, it’s a great option for you.
Other Writing Implements
From pencils to markers to crayons, the message sent with these ultra-green writing materials couldn’t be more eco-friendly.
- This range of pencils are made from 100% recycled newspaper and are entirely tree-free. Greenciles make pencils from 100% recycled paper, holds the same high quality of a standard 2HB pencil, and zero wood products are used to make them.
- EcoStars makes playful star-shaped crayons from 100% recycled crayons, which are also in turn able to be recycled if need be. Made in the USA, it’s the perfect way to introduce children to recycling!
- Other green options come from Prang, crayons made from a blend of soybean oil and wax rather than petroleum-based paraffin wax. Also, Old Mill Candles, based in Minnesota, produces beautiful handmade thick crayons made from pure beeswax, along with non-toxic food grade pigments.
Gone are the days of taking lunch in a wasteful brown paper bag. Bento boxes of all shapes and colors, stainless steel snap boxes, and washable lunch bags, are just a few ways to bring your lunch to school.
By using BPA-free plastic snap containers or steel containers to hold snacks, you eliminate the waste of Ziploc baggies, too. Companies are also using silicone lids instead of plastic to safely seal containers. Don’t forget to include a water bottle that is either made from BPA-free plastic, or even better, stainless steel.
Have a wonderful school year knowing all your green school supplies consciously have the Earth in mind.