Skip to main content

Eco-friendly tips for back-to-school shopping

A backpack with colorful notebooks, markers, and a pencil case

Reduce your environmental footprint while back-to-school shopping–-without spending a ton of money

With summer wrapping up, back-to-school shopping is on the minds of many parents. School supply lists start appearing, and new clothes need to be bought. So how can you do all this on a budget, and purchase sustainable and environmentally-friendly items? Here are a few tips to “green” your school supplies. 

Take stock of what you have 
Check out what you already own and consider reusing what you have. Partially filled notebooks, school supplies used by older siblings, or old lunchboxes or backpacks may just need a bit of cleaning and sprucing up to be ready for use this year. 

Recycle or donate the items you don’t plan to use. Your local Buy Nothing group is a great place to give or get items for free, right in your neighborhood. 

Shop for eco-friendly and hazardous-free school supplies 
Once you’ve taken inventory of what you already have, shop for the items still on your list. When purchasing items, choose products that have minimal packaging, are made with recycled materials, and are durable enough to last for years. 

Take a moment to choose safer cleaning products too. Items such as wet wipes, hand sanitizer, and hand soap should also be free of hazardous chemicals. This also rings true for college students purchasing cleaning supplies for their residence on or off campus. When shopping, take the time to read the labels and choose the least hazardous products available. Always avoid products with the words DANGER or POISON on the label as they are the most harmful to you and your family’s health. 

The safest products will have the EPA Safer Choice label on them, even if the product has CAUTION on the label. You can find a list of Safer Choice certified products by visiting the Safer Choice website

Check out the thrift stores for bargains 

Thrift stores, consignment stores, and online pre-used clothing sites are all the rage right now. While earth-friendly, second-hand clothing is also budget friendly and you can find quite a few fashionable items among the racks.  

And for college students, second-hand stores are also a great place to look for furnishings and décor for their dorm room or apartment.

By following these tips, your school-aged child or college student will be ready to start their first day in style! 

Recent stories

Stay Connected

Sign up for the latest news and information about our services