Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Green Back-to-School

Back to school. Ah, those frantic weekends where you'd stop by the nearest store to stock up on spiral bound notebooks, backpacks, and pencils. Don't forget the packages of fruit juice and brown paper bags, either, but if you want to be a little bit more "green" this school year, here are a few things that can help even the average parent stay both economical but environmentally savvy:

1. Lunch. It happens everyday, therefore you can get the most out of investing in an eco-friendly lunch bag and a plastic sandwich box. It might seem cheaper to spend on paper and plastic, but imagine the environmental impact you'd make by simply abstaining to use such products!

2. Backpack. This typically doesn't spell out eco-friendly, but look for a well-constructed backpack or go to a thrift or secondhand store to find a used one. Although having the coolest backpacks may win your children the awes and oohs the first week of school, they are most likely to forget about it within a month. Most children do not need new backpacks each year, so save that extra $30 for something better for them, and maybe something cooler.

3. Clothing. Oh yes, the only thing that sinks money for all parents. Children grow at alarming rates, so shoes, shirts, and pants are constantly in circulation. Uniformed schools often provide a great solution to this dilemma, but what if your child's school offers them to wear just about anything? Regardless, check the thrift and secondhand stores. These days, it's stylish to be retro and Earth-friendly, and these stores often recycle textiles that are not suitable for wear. Afraid your kid will get bullied on still? You can get a pair of pants, and children often cannot tell the difference.

4. School supplies. You can find a great amount of pencils, pens, and paper at year-round, cheap prices at the 99 cent store, or in bulk. Typically your child will not go through a ream of paper or 10 spiral-bound notebooks. If you decide to buy, remember to store them (and don't forget!). But remember, supplies are typically ready-made and supplied to children in elementary school. Invest in notebooks, binders, and pens when your child is of middle to high school age, where they would need that extra organization bouncing from different teachers and subjects.

5. Coupons, sales, and rebates. This applies to any of the above products, so shop safe and savvy this year!

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