Back to School with Practically Green

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Erin’s latest post for Practically Green…

Back to School or Work: Eco-Friendly Choices

Thursday, August 25th, 2011 

You don’t have to be a little first-grader to get psyched about freshening up your backpack, lunchbox, and writing supplies! It’s a great time of year for to get great deals and see what’s new on the eco-front. We asked Erin Schrode to help us get organized. She knows her green and she knows her stuff!

Back to School in Eco Style

By Erin Schrode

The end of summer is around the corner and school is, once again, upon us. Early morning wake-ups, packing lunches, and after school activities will all soon become routine, but first… back-to-school shopping. In the US alone, families spend an average of up to $800 on these school supplies. That is a lot of money and a lot of products, yet it need not produce excessive waste. This is the perfect time to incorporate eco into your daily life and become a conscious consumer. It is super simple for parents, teachers, kids, and all the rest of us that love school and office supply shopping (and sales!) can start turning green this back-to-school season!

First things first: let’s talk classroom essentials like pencils, pens, paper.

When purchasing eco-friendly back-to-school basics, it’s critical to look for items made from recycled content. Many pencils and pens are refillable and made using post-consumer waste, as are some rulers and scissors. This reduces resource consumption and the need to manufacture using our limited natural resources.

If buying new, choose FSC-certified pencils to ensure that wood is sustainably harvested. A far better choice! I am a fan of New Leaf notebooks and paper, ReBinder folders and binders, Ecojot notebooks,PaperMate ReThinkpens, and EarthWrite pencilsZebra Pen EcoForest Choice pencilsPilot BeGreenBIC Ecolutions, Kleanearth Scissors, and 3M eco-friendly tape and recycled Post-Its, to name but a few of the many eco brands on the market today.

LOVE the orange EcoJot notebook!!

But what do you put all of these materials in? An eco backpack or tote bag, of course. My top picks are made from either recycled fabrics or organic cotton – and are not only stylish, but also durable, spacious, and multi-purposed, like this recycled Baggu pack (my first choice: red!), any number of these environmentally friendly, artisan-made, and fair labor FEED bags, or solar-powered energy-producing Voltaic backpack.

Backpack from Baggu

Author Note:

Erin Schrode is at NYU majoring majoring in Cross-Cultural Diplomacy and Communications. Right now she’s packing her eco-bags for a semester in Madrid. Erin is the co-founder of Teens Turning Green. “a student led movement devoted to education and advocacy around environmentally and socially responsible choices for individuals, schools, and communities.” TTG hosts a 30-day lifestyle challenge this October. Find out more here.

We were wowed by Erin’s presentation at Sustainable Brands Conference in June, and we think you’ll enjoy watching her describe how her parents raised her green, and how to engage millennials:http://erinschrode.com/Videos.html

Follow Erin on Twitter: @erinschrode. And get involved with Teens Turning Green here.

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About Project Green Challenge

Project Green Challenge is a powerful, diverse, and far-reaching movement inspiring young people to take action and protect our planet. This October, Teens Turning Green is energizing high school and college students across the country to participate in Project Green Challenge, a 30-day green lifestyle initiative. The Challenge will raise awareness about conscious living, informed consumption and the collective impact of each of our actions. With the guidance of eco experts, industry leaders and the PGC Guide to Living Green, participants will discover how fun, easy and effective eco living can be.

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