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5
Aug

Back to School – Green Style

eco friendly school days

Yes, its that time again! What is about back to school that gets everyone excited…even if you homeschool?

This year I will have one child at home (and my toddler of course) and one in private school so I do have to do the whole “back to school” thing for her and finding ways to green the school routine are FUN! For the most part I get to just breeze past the local store displays of crayola crayons and lunchboxes…although I have found some green options there too. Here are some cool “green” school supplies for you:

Eco Friendly Pencils and Crayons

Pineapple Flavored – Recyced Pencils– Remember these from my eco art review? They are scented pencils made from 100% recycled newspapers. They sharpen and write like regular pencils but smell better and they save trees. They come in delicious scents like bubblegum, cherry, root beer, and pineapple.

Stockmar Beeswax Block Crayons – Made out of Beeswax and shaped into rectangles. They also come in a handy tin. But if you want traditional looking crayons you can get the Stockmar Beeswax Stick Crayons.

Soybean Crayons – environmentally friendly Prang soybean crayons. You can usually find these at office supply stores too.

Green Notebooks and Paper

Tree Free Notebooks– This paper is 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.

Elephant Poop Paper!– I just love the idea behind this product. In Sri Lanka, villagers capitalize on something they have a lot of… elephant dung! Brought to you through Ellie Pooh, a socially conscious business in Sri Lanka. Wouldn’t your kids get a kick out of telling people their paper is made from poop?

Green Lunch Boxes and Water Bottles

The Laptop Lunchbox– This is my all time favorite lunchbox. It is an American style bento boxpayton-and-lunch2.jpg and I LOVE bentos. They also promotes waste free lunches because each compartment eliminates the need for plastic baggies. They also come with real flatware and a cloth napkin can be put inside it too. This lunchbox helps me pack healthy and environmentally friendly meals for my kids. You can see some of the lunches I made here and you can read a more detailed review here.

We have a collection of bentos so my kids have always had the coolest lunches. At my son’s school last year I became known as the mom who makes those awesome lunches, LOL.

And while we are on the subject of lunch boxes I must recommend Mabel’s Labels if you want quality, permanent labels for your lunchbox and other school gear.

For cloth napkins I recommend Fabkins. They are super cute napkins that appeal to kids and help eliminate paper waste from disposable napkins.

Mr. Bento– is another bento box I like. This one is better for older kids and adults. It is a stylish stainless steel lined, thermos style lunchbox. There is one designed for boys and one for girls.

Crocodile Creek Green Lunchboxes – Adorable designs. I love the Dinosaurs design.

Eco-Friendly Ocean Lunch Bag from Mimi the Sardine – a very cute lunch bag made of cloth!

Klean Kanteen KolorsKlean 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 very attractive to younger kids. My daughter has one for her lunch bag.

Wrap-N-Mat– We have several of these reusable sandwich bags. They are perfect for wrapping your food so that you no longer need to use plastic baggies. This cuts down on needless landfill waste.

Eco Friendly Backpacks and Bags

Blabla Backpacks – Each backpack is hand-knitted by Peruvian artists using techniques that are passedButterfly backpack down from generation to generation. We love the vibrant colors and whimsical design…especially the butterfly backpack.

Solar Powered Backpack– This stylish and smart backpack is the first in a line of backpacks with an integrated solar charging solution. It 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.

Basura Coin Purse-This is perfect for holding lunch money and they are made from recycled juice containers. I saw one similar to this that holds pencils at Walgreen’s recently too.

Basura Messenger Bag– For the eco-stylish this messenger bag made from juice containers is the perfect fit. Tween and teen girls would love these.

Eco Friendly Clothing

Tees for Change makes awesome organic tees (cotton/bamboo) that will appeal to young women. They have great messages printed on them, like Choose Happiness and Practice Kindness. They have a good sale going on right now too.

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

Garden Kids Clothing – Garden Kids creates children’s clothing using organically grown cotton and fair wage practices. They are stylish, durable, and comfy. :)

Other Cool Stuff:

Lyra Waldorf Pencils

Artemis Plant Colored Beeswax

 

  • Tsoniki

    I love school supplies so green ones? Even better!

  • Lynn from Organicmania.com

    Cool! I was just at Whole Foods and they had a huge section devoted to this..

    Back to school already? (Stumbled ya!) l

  • I’ve been hearing about this “poop paper” lately, thanks for the background info. Sounds like it might be free-trade-style, too, which would be a great plus. I am very hip to moving toward supporting smaller companies and real people with my dollar!

    Nice to have all this info in one place, thanks for your hard work. We need to do a big re-organization and re-stocking for home school this year, so it will be great to have a reference point with some new ideas!

  • Yancey Grantham

    Tiffany,

    Great article! I also like the great green theme of your site. The greens you have chosen work really well together.

    The graphic design at the top is top notch but I really like your treatment of your graphics at the bottom of your site.

    Thanks so much for taking part in my “Top Green Blog’s Carnival of Greeness.” Come on over an check out the other Green articles and leave me a comment on my blog!

  • Red

    You have green school supplies like crayons and pencils, unfortunately, the list we get from the school is brand specific… :(

  • Red,

    Send a note explaining why you won’t let your child use petro crayons, etc. I can’t imagine any teacher arguing over safety and enviro concerns.

  • I love the elephant poop paper! I also noticed that Staples is now carrying notebooks made with bagasse. They are very sturdy, though do not appear to have any fair trade component. My aunt and uncle got me pens made from old cell phones and electronics, which is very cool! I get organic cotton back-to-school shirts and socks from Maggie’s Organics (www.maggiesorganics.com). I’ve had the opportunity to work with them this summer and learn more about the company and products. Needless to say I love their stuff even more and am excited to add their new scarves and legwarmers to my wardrobe! Does anyone know of any eco-friendly folders? I am looking to even create my own from old cereal boxes, but would like to see what’s on the market already. Thanks!

    Mary

  • How awesome, thanks for all these amazing suggestions! I love the picture, is that your son?

    I have another to add: I myself recently got a my son a most spiff messenger bag from Act2GreenSmart. It’s all made from recycled bottles, is nicely designed, and tells you right inside how many bottles were used to make it, how much energy that saved, and how long your average laptop would run on that amount of energy. I love how that makes your positive impact really tangible, something I want to instill in my son.

    If you’d like to check them out yourself, go to http://www.act2greensmart.com They also have small shoulder bags, totes (that could double as diaper bags) and shopping bags.

  • green blog

    That’s great. That will sure make the “back to school” shopping chores become exciting, plus all of them are the small little things which you can do to help mother nature.

  • I just did a post on ways of going back to school and going back “green”. I mentioned your blog at the end of it. love it~
    -Lu

  • Hiya Tiffany! I am fairly new to the blogging world and am excited about meeting other like-minded mothers out there.

    I just loved this post as I am a mother of a 3 year old with another daughter due in Sept. I am also a “nature mom” striving to lead an organic, environmental lifestyle.

    Though we currently use a fairly good option for my daughter’s lunch (she has the Crocodile Creek green lunch box), I loved the bento box idea!

    Thanks again for your great post. I am definitely hooked on your blog! I plan on visiting often and look forward to getting to know you better!

    Cheers, Kimberly “aka Tree Huggin’ Mummy”

  • Jennifer

    We love the wrap-n-mats and just picked up another set of three. They are easy to maintain and they keep the bread from becoming soggy or drying out.

  • Mom of Three

    I love this post, but have to mention something regarding the scented pencils. I just wanted to remind people that scented products are NOT healthy for us or the environment. They contain toxic chemicals and I would not classify them as an eco choice. Anything fragranced or scented usually contain ingredients which cause birth defects, DNA damage, hormone disruption, and may contribute to the onset of chemical sensitivity. We are bombarded by scents everywhere we go. Stores now use them to evoke a certain “memory” that you will associate with their store. Educate yourselves regarding this. Especially important to eliminate is fabric softeners, they are the worst offenders. Thank you!

  • LS

    Great finds! You might want to note that the Mr. Bento lunch box ‘boys’ and ‘girls’ versions aren’t so much a matter of style as size. The Mr. Bento holds about 40 oz in 4 bowls, while the Ms. Bento holds about 22 oz in 2 bowls. The Ms. is a quite neutral blue, which boys as well as girls would use, so it’s more a matter of your child’s appetite.

  • Wanda

    first time here… just wanted to let you know about this other great product for school…http://www.projectkool.com/ – its by a young boy that decided to do something about global warming. I met him at the Go Green Expo in NYC.. great kid. We use the lunch bag everyday. Look into it.

  • Great resources- thanks

  • My kids went to Waldorf school for the first few years, and all they used were beeswax crayons. We loved them! We also spent hours modeling with beeswax “clay.” Great stuff.

  • Anonymous

    I came to your site this time looking for an eco-friendly backpack for my toddler grandchild. Thought you might like to know the Blabla Backpack link is broken. Nice assortment of goodies, here. We have several of them already!