10 Eco-Friendly Tips for Kids Going Back to School

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eco-friendly back to school
Image by NCDOTcommunications via Flickr Creative Commons license.

It’s back to school time. Yes, believe it or not, summer is almost over…at least for a lot of kids. No more sleeping in or hanging around. Outdoor adventures will have to wait until the late afternoon hours or the weekend. It’s time to shop for new clothes, gather up the kids’ school supplies and get them ready. To give you a little assistance on this front, we’ve come up with 10 eco-friendly tips for kids going back to school.

Eco-Friendly Back to School Tips

  1. Have your kids pack a lunch. When kids bring their own lunch, they tend to make healthier food choices. They can eat organic. They can also find the types of food they want to eat, rather than having to eat whatever option happens to be available in the school cafeteria.
  2. Use reusable containers to minimize waste. Skip the plastic bags. Put your kids’ food in reusable or recyclable containers. A few options we like include the ECOlunchbox and Lunchskins.
  3. Make sure your kid brings only the food he or she actually intends to eat. So much food waste is generated in the US and around the world on a daily basis. By bringing only the food they know they’ll eat, you can help minimize food waste and save money too.
  4. If your kids do end up having waste, tell them not to fret. Encourage your kids to recycle or compost as much as possible. A number of schools have been adopting recycling programs. Some even have school gardens which benefit from compost made out of bits and pieces of uneaten school lunches.
  5. Get your kids a reusable water bottle. Stainless steel is always a good option as you won’t have to worry about toxins from a plastic bottle seeping into their water. Besides, some schools have water filling stations where kids can refill their water bottle throughout the day to help keep them hydrated.
  6. Talk to your kids about staying hydrated. Some of the benefits of staying hydrated include improved cognitive function, better moods, increased energy levels and more. Garden of Life recently posted an article about the Top 7 Reasons to Stay Hydrated.
  7. Walk with your kids to school. This gives you and them a chance to get outdoors and get a little exercise before school starts in the morning and after school gets out. You can also have them ride their bikes or scooters to and from school. Be sure to find a safe route for them to use.
  8. Use non-toxic sunscreen. Even when kids are only outdoors for recess or lunch, the sun can be damaging to their skin. Using sunscreen will help protect them. Check out the EWG’s Best Scoring Sunscreen Lotions for Kids if you aren’t sure which sunscreen to use.
  9. Check your inventory of school supplies before buying more. This will help you avoid purchasing items your kids don’t really need. Then, when you do buy school supplies, look for those with minimal packaging. Pick items made from recycled or sustainable materials.
  10. Encourage your kids to get outdoors. We know most kids will have homework to do after school. This doesn’t mean they shouldn’t spend some time outside. Getting out in nature is beneficial to their health and overall well-being. So, be sure to fit in some outdoor time between school, homework and bedtime. Your kids will be better for it!

Developing Eco-Friendly Habits

While it is important for parents to take action to help their kids be more eco-friendly, it is equally as important for kids to develop their own eco-friendly habits. Start by setting a good example, then let your kids know why you are doing what you’re doing. Teach your kids the importance of being sustainable, making green choices and doing what’s right for the environment.

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