If you thought the midweek traffic jams were bad, just wait till you experience the mad rush to the store, any store, as teachers have sent out wish lists for perfectly prepared students.
As in all things consumer, we have choices about where and how to spend our money. School supplies are no different. This year, buying any item made from recycled content will make a difference. How? As parents, we know that school supplies are really in essence consumable, even if they are meant to last longer. Buying something that came from someone’s previous recycling efforts makes the purchase of school supplies easier for the environment.
Purchasing sustainable school supplies is investing in the planet for your students’ future.
My “green stars” this year are products that are not only sustainable, but more importantly, cool enough for your child to want to use.
Stone paper? Banana paper?
Yes, it’s true, paper made from stones or bananas. That might seem like a convoluted way to make paper, but nary a tree was harmed in the making of these two different types of paper.
Stone paper is made from mineral powder and resin, and is surprisingly heavy to hold. Banana paper is made from the industry byproducts of banana farming. It has the bits of fiber inherent in the paper, for a natural look, but unfortunately doesn’t smell anything like bananas. Stone paper and banana notebooks can be found in the office supply section of Target.
Wetsuit lunch pails?
Why a new lunch pail each year? Probably the fermented “science projects” kids leave in behind in their pails for parents and curious pets to find.
Arctic Zone has neoprene lunch bags resembling a frog, a dog and a ladybug. The neoprene material makes the lunch pail machine-washable — with thankful awareness, they also include a liner to make those indescribable messes easier to clean.
For those looking for something more sophisticated than animal lunch pails, BYO has “grown-up” lunch pails made from the same material, and they even have reusable water bottle sleeves as a set. Both can be found at Target.
Although kids will see this as adult speak for hand-me-downs (re-use in action), recycled denim is leftover pieces of fabric not used in clothing that are then rewoven. Arizona Jean Co. makes jeans that are made from recycled denim, found at JCPenney.
• For a change: Buy recycled paper notebooks for your students. Staples has the affordable brand Eco Tec.
• To make a difference: Buy refillable ballpoint pens and mechanical pencils, made from recycled content plastic. Look for the recycled logo on packages of Bic, Pentel and Pilot pens. Prevent one more pen from being tossed, as 1.6 billion end up in landfills each year.
• To make a stand: Buy recycled-content binder paper and copy paper for your child and their classroom. Save a tree from your child’s spelling tests, and math problems.
• Christina D.B. Frankel is a 20-year Tracy resident, architect and mother of three. Her column, Living Green, runs every so often in the Tracy Press. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.