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Eco Friendly School Days

by Tiffany in A Green Home, Children, Environment

Is it that time again already?! Wow….summer flies right by and before you know it… it is time to think about sending your kids back to school. The local stores put out huge displays of Crayola crayons, pencil boxes, and backpacks. Parents and kids wander around with printed lists showing all of the supplies their teachers have requested for the year. In addition to the dent in parents’ wallets, there are environmental and social costs involved in all this school-related spending too. Well, I got to wondering what options there were for more sustainable, low impact, or eco friendly school supplies and I decided to compile a list of the cool green school supplies I found. Enjoy!

Eco Friendly Pencils and Crayons

Pineapple Flavored – Recyced Pencils – These are a truly great find. They are scented pencils made from 100% recycled newspapers. They sharpen and write like regular pencils but smell better and they save trees. Just one simple way to go green….

scents: bubblegum, cherry, rootbeer, grape, peppermint, watermelon, pineapple, orange, fruit punch.

Lyra Waldorf Pencils are artisan-quality watercolor pencils with a wide array of color options using fine pigmented dyes that work to create brilliant color variations, which are long lasting and non-soluble. Pencil colors in the set include: golden rod, lemon, orange, dark carmine, light blue, Prussian blue, sap green, apple green, van dyke brown, vermillion, venetian red and purple

Soybean Crayons – environmentally friendly Prang soybean crayons

Stockmar Beeswax Block Crayons are shaped like blocks. They are easy to hold the shape allows for different coloring possibilities. They also prevent the mess of a wrapper. Sets comes in a handy reusabletin, colors including; crimson, orange, golden yellow, lemon yellow, green, blue, rust and red-violet. Stockmar products are also certified nontoxic by the Art and Craft Materials Institute.

But if you want regular crayons you can get the Stockmar Beeswax Stick Crayons. This luxurious set luxurious set includes the following colors: carmine red, orange, lemon yellow, green, blue, blue violet, red brown, and black.


Green Notebooks and Paper

Nearly half the trees currently harvested are used to make paper!

Tree Free Notebooks – a sustainable substitute source for paper-making fiber. The growing demand for paper made with kenaf, a fibrous plant from the Mallow family that’s related to cotton and okra, has made it an increasingly viable alternative economically. Put simply, Kenaf offers a way to make paper without cutting trees, and the company’s goal is to increase the amount of kenaf fiber in Boku Books to 100% before long.

Elephant Poop Paper! – Yes this paper is made from elephant dung. In Sri Lanka, many elephants have been killed not for their meat, tusks, or hide but simply because they interfere with local agribusiness. A solution for villagers AND elephants alike has been to find ways to utilize the elephant as a sustainable economic resource. Since elephants poop about 16 times a day (wow!), elephant dung is a resource with the potential to solve the farmer/pachyderm conflict. Brought to you through Ellie Pooh, a socially conscious business in Sri Lanka.

Both of the above products are Fair Trade items as well.

Eco Friendly Backpacks

I have long been a fan of Crocodile Creek products. They have so many inventive products that are safer for kids. One of those products that are awesome for sending kids back to school is their line backpacks. Also their lunchboxes.

Solar Powered Backpack – This stylish and smart backpack is the first in a line of backpacks with an integrated solar charging solution. Perfect for the student, mobile commuter, and outdoorsman, this backpack provides a quality pack with an integrated solar charging module for your high-tech toys. If your child has a cell phone or iPod then they might really like this backpack.

EarthPak – The backpack made from recycled plastic soda bottles. They also have duffel bags, sports bags, computer bags, and fanny packs.

Recycled Hemp Backpack – Backpacks made from sustainable hemp and they are attractive too!

Basura Coin Purse -This is perfect for holding lunch money and they are made from recycled juice containers.

Basura Messenger Bag – For the eco-stylish this messenger bag made from juice containers is the perfect fit.


Eco Friendly Clothing

The number one green way to dress your kids for school is to use second hand clothing as much as possible. If you do buy some new clothes… go for sustainable duds that make a REAL statement!

Rawganique’s line of eco clothing for kids is made from certified US cotton.

Maggie’s Functinal Organics uses organic cotton, wool, and hemp.


Eco Friendly Lunch Boxes and Water Bottles

The Laptop Lunchbox – The ultimate lunchbox and my personal favorite. It is an American style bento box that promotes waste free lunches. This lunchbox helps me pack healthy and environmentally friendly meals for my son. Read our review here.

And while we are on the subject of lunch boxes I must recommend Mabel’s Labels. I have some for all three kids and I put some on their lunch boxes. They withstand the dishwasher, microwave, UV Rays and hard wearing children. And you can out them on more than lunch boxes. You can put them on cups, bottles, backpacks…you name it.

To-Go Ware Two Tier Stainless Steel Lunch Boxes – Stainless, stylish & stackable! This 2-tier tiffin system that hails from India. It is reusable, lightweight, and has a lid that doubles as a plate. It’s easy to carry and clean, but hard to live without. Great for both cold or hot food, and the planet, too. Fold down the handle to make it compact and easy to store. Perfect for work, school, picnics, or a night out (makes for a stylish doggy bag). One or two? Up to you! 

Find more bento lunchboxes

You may also want to try the Kids Konserve Waste-Free Lunch Kit. Kit includes a recycled cotton lunch bag with a recycled aluminum nametag, cloth napkin, 16 oz. stainless steel beverage bottle, Food Kozy and two stainless steel food containers. Read my personal review of it here.


Klean Kanteen – Another one of my personal favorites! These stainless steel water bottles do not leach chemicals into your water like plastic ones do and they are a much more sustainable option. They come in many different sizes and with different choices.

Sigg Reusable Water Bottles – These aluminum water bottles are attractive to younger kids.

Wrap-N-Mat – These reusable sandwich bags are perfect for wrapping your food so that you no longer need to use plastic bags. This cuts down on needless landfill waste.

LunchSkins Sandwich and Snack Bags – You’ll never need -or want- to use a Ziplock bag again! LunchSkins Reusable Sandwich Bags are a colorful, high-quality alternative to plastic sandwich baggies. Made from the same food-safe materials used in high-end bakeries and patisseries, not only will they store your food, they’ll keep in moisture and save thousands of plastic baggies at the same time.

Read part two of this installment!

Thursday, August 2nd, 2007

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