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4 Planet-Friendly Tips for an Eco-Conscious Back-to-School

Back-to-school time is right around the corner, and while you’re checking off the supplies list and picking out a new backpack, it’s worth giving some thought about ways to incorporate environmentally conscious practices into the new school year. 

Small changes can make a big impact, and a new school year is a great time to incorporate updates to our routines that can contribute to a healthier planet. From reducing our carbon footprint in the ways we get to and from school, to the supplies we choose to purchase and use, here are a few planet-friendly back-to-school ideas.

Green Your Transportation: Depending where you live, there are a few options to help lower your commute’s carbon footprint. If you’re close to school, consider having your students walk or bike this year. Remember to do a few practice runs with your child, doubling down on safety and making sure they know the route well before doing it on their own. If walking or biking isn’t an option, consider carpooling with other families to reduce the number of cars on the road.

Upcycle Supplies: Picking out all new supplies is part of the back-to-school fun, but consider taking stock of what you have left over from last year before rushing out to buy more. Repurpose notebooks and folders by decorating the front with fun stickers, wash and refurbish backpacks to make them look like new, or add a few colorful patches that reflect your student’s personality or past happy memories. 

Opt for a Sustainable Lunchtime: Reusable lunch boxes and water bottles are a must for any student, but look for ones made from eco-friendly materials like stainless steel, bamboo or recycled plastics. For water bottles, choose one that’s BPA-free and can be repeatedly refilled throughout the day and will last all year long. Also, consider reusable snack and sandwich bags made from silicone instead of single-use plastic zip-top bags. 

Use School Recycling Programs: If your school doesn’t have a strong recycling program already, encourage them to adopt one, and teach your students about the benefits of recycling and how to do it properly. Educating students about the environmental impact of recycling will help them think long-term about their effect on the planet and can make lifestyle changes that will last long after the school year is over.

In Sunbridge, we’re committed to helping our residents live more eco-friendly lives, including the students who live in our naturehood. We’re looking forward to the 2024-25 school year when the Weslyn Park K-8 school opens and our students can enjoy an easy, eco-friendly commute to a school right in their backyard! 

Together, we can create a school environment that fosters academic excellence and teaches our students to be good stewards of the environment.

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