Simple Steps to an Eco-Friendly School Year

by Chrystal Johnson on August 21, 2014

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Welcome to the August 2014 Natural Living Blog Carnival: Green Your School Year.

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Natural Living Blog Carnival hosted by Happy Mothering and the Green Moms Network. This month, our members are getting ready for back to school. Stop by all of the posts listed at the bottom of mine to get ideas on how you can make simple changes to make the school year more eco-friendly and natural.

ecofriendly-school-yearFor many, school is already back in session. Zoë doesn’t officially start back in class until after Labor Day (although we meet her teacher the week before and get her first homework packet), so we’re still enjoying these last days of summer.

Last year I wrote about her awesome private school. However, this year she’ll be attending a new Charter School, which is really exciting. While all of her friends from her old school will also be attending the Charter School, a new school also means new friends and new opportunities to learn and grow. It also means new opportunities to share our passion for green and natural living.

I believe that the best way to share our passion is through example – not pushing our beliefs on others. I have found that when people notice that we do things differently, they are often curious and like to ask questions (and if they’re not interested that’s okay – we’re all on our own journeys). It’s so much easier to share when someone is genuinely interested than when you are sharing unwanted information.

So, we will lead by example and hope that we can inspire other families to make simple changes to live more simply, more naturally and in a more eco-friendly manner.

Here are some ways we are making this school year more green, natural and healthy:

Reusable Lunch Gear

Last year, we made an effort to use reusable lunch gear as much as possible. However, I did use way more plastic baggies than I intended. This year, we got a lot more reusable lunch gear so I can try to cut back on our plastic use (enter to win reusable lunch gear from MightyNest here).

Real Food Lunches

Towards the end of last school year, we got an awesome bread maker, so now we make all of our own bread. This means less chemicals and no preservatives going into Zoë’s sandwiches. We also choose real foods like fruit, vegetables, cheese and nuts for her lunch over packaged junk food items.

Reuse School Supplies

As exciting as it is to go school shopping, we try to reuse as many things as possible. Pencils, erasers, paper, glue crayons… there’s no need to buy new if it still works. One thing we did invest in is a good (but affordable) electric pencil sharpener because the cheap dollar store pencil sharpeners just weren’t cutting it.

Previously Owned Clothing

I’ll be honest. Most of Zoë’s school clothes are brand new and purchased with various gift cards I’ve accumulated over the last year. Her and I had a fun Mommy / Daughter day of clothes shopping and it was  lot of fun. However, we also did some shopping with Schoola. They sell clothing that is donated and then they donate 40% of the proceeds back to schools. It’s a pretty awesome setup. They sell all previously owned clothes (since everything is donated), but they have everything from clothes that are brand new with tags on down to clothes that are in good condition. We only got new with tags clothes for school (the prices were stellar), but we did get a “good” outfit for Kaylee (for like $3 for the top and pants) and it was truly in perfect condition. You can get $15 to shop with Schoola by clicking this link.

Carpooling

Zoë’s school is a good 20 minute drive each way from our house. We did some carpooling last year, but we really could have done a better job. This year I’m hoping to set up a carpool schedule with a couple of moms that live nearby. All of us can save time and gas that way.

What are some ways that you “green” your school year?

Visit Happy Mothering and to learn more about participating in next month’s Natural Living Blog Carnival! Please take some time to enjoy the posts our other carnival participants have contributed:



About Chrystal Johnson

Chrystal, publisher of Happy Mothering, is a mother of two sweet girls who believes in living a simple, natural lifestyle. A former marketing manager, Chrystal spends her time researching green and eco-friendly alternatives to improve her family's life. She enjoys sharing those discoveries with anyone who's willing to listen.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Sasha August 21, 2014 at 10:56 am

I love the idea of reusing school supplies. That’s a great tip! Same thing goes with book sacks. And I used to love going school clothes shopping with my mama each year :)
Sasha recently posted..5 Ways to Green Your Child’s School Year

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2 Randi S August 21, 2014 at 11:36 am

Great ideas! Love them all… we always reused our school supplies growing up, but found last year with my son’s school they go into a community pool and we never see them again (and yet students have to keep bringing them every year…how does that work!?) We buy used clothing, etc where we can as well :)
Randi S recently posted..Going Green for Back to School {August Natural Living Blog Carnival}

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3 Roechelle August 21, 2014 at 12:24 pm

She must be so excited to start going to a new school :) these are wonderful tips – I agree with not pushing beliefs, I try to tell other moms about our greener living without seeming pushy or superior, and most are open to learning while others are simply not interested. Carpooling is a great one
Roechelle recently posted..A Few ways to Green up your School Year

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4 Trisha August 22, 2014 at 2:02 pm

Leading by example is the perfect way to spread the green love! I think having cool reusable lunch gear will be a hit with Zoe’s friends, and might even inspire some families to check it out. Great tips on how to green your school year!
Trisha recently posted..{Tutorial} Sew a Simple Reusable Snack Bag!

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