School Supplies Go Green
From backpacks and lunchboxes to pencils and hand sanitizer, eco-friendly options abound that will keep you and your family healthier and the earth greener.
Backpacks: Opt for natural and recycled materials; not vinyl and other plastics. Look for organic cotton, hemp, and recycled plastic on-line. Canvas, cotton, and nylon are common in stores.
EcoChoices: Backpacks: hemp
Terracycle: Backpacks & messenger bags: used wrappers and juice pouches.
Lunch boxes: Avoid lead, phthalates, vinyl (PVC), bisphenol-A (BPA) in plastics. Also avoid boxes protected by Microban®, an antimicrobial chemical (triclosan) infused into the fibers.
Bazura Bags: Made from recycled juice packs. Lead-free. At ReUseIt.
Crocodile Creek: PVC-free, phthalate-free, BPA-free.
Ecobags: Stainless steel (2 tier canister), neoprene, polypropylene, or organic cotton.
Kids Konserve: Insulated lunch sacks from 100% recycled plastic bottles, or recycled cotton canvas
Reuseit: Stainless steel (3 tier canister), neoprene, ariaprene, polyester, nylon, 100% recycled PET (from plastic bottles), polypropylene, recycled cotton, or organic cotton.
Food and Drink Containers: Look for stainless steel, which is dishwasher-safe and a great alternative to plastic and glass (no breakage!). Or lead-free, BPA-free plastic.
Aladdin: Bottles (insulated) and containers to go: BPA-free. Sustain Collection made with an average of 25% post consumer content. At Target, Meijer, Ace, Rite Aid, K-Mart, Kroger.
Crocodile Creek: Bottles and thermal food jars: stainless steel. Sandwich keepers: BPA and phthalate-free plastic.
Kids Konserve: Bottles, insulated food jars, containers (plastic or stainless steel lids): stainless steel. Sandwich wraps: LDPE (4) plastic. Waste-free lunch kit, more.
Klean Kanteen: Bottles and insulated wide-mouth food/drink containers: stainless steel
LunchBots: Sandwich, snack, and condiment containers, insulated thermal food containers: stainless steel.
Thermos: FUNtainers™ cater to kids. Stainless steel and BPA-free plastic.
Drinkboxes, chips, snacks: Some mornings call for a quick grab and go. TerraCycle offers a second life to empty wrappers (CapriSun, Honest Kids, Lays, Clif Bar, etc) collected from the lunchroom. Turn them in for a donation to your school or favorite charity. Wrappers and pouches are recycled into backpacks, lunchbags, folders, and pencil cases. Go to TerraCycle to start a recycling program at your child’s school.
Classroom supplies: Donate sanitizers to your child’s class that do not contain triclosan and other harmful anti-bacterial chemicals.
Clean Well: Hand sanitizer and Hand soap kills 99.99% germs with thyme and other plant oils. Alcohol-free. Commercial products available.
Earth-Friendly: Orange Plus Waterless Hand Cleaning Towels contain corn-based ethanol, the active ingredient in many waterless hand sanitizers.
Seventh Generation: Botanical disinfecting surface spray and wipes contain Clean Well’s thyme oil formula and kill 99.99% germs. Paper towels and tissue with minimum 50% post consumer waste recycled paper, no chlorine bleach.
Pencils and Pens: Look for high post consumer (PC) recycled content, Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified wood, refillable ink.
Eco Writer: Pencils: 100% PC newsprint.
Forest Choice: Pencils: FSC-certified cedar.
Made by Humans: Pencils: recycled bamboo paper & recycled rubber erasers. Pen and highlighter: corn plastic & recycled cardboard.
O’Bon: Pens and pencils: recycled newspaper.
Pilot BeGreen: Refillable pens, mechanical pencils, markers, 70% – 92% recycled plastic.
Recycled Old Money Pencils and Recycled Old Blue Jean Pencils: just that! Available at Green Line Paper, Green Earth Office Supply.
Stubby Pencil Studio: Recycled pens, pencils, solvent-free highlighters.
Tree Smart: Pencils: 100% recycled newspaper. Pens: biodegradable plastic, bamboo, recycled paper.
Acco: Paper clips: 50% PC content at Staples.
Fiskars Recycled Products: Scissors: 100% PC recycled plastic handles. Pencil sharpener, ruler, protractor: 30% PC recycled plastic. Available at Amazon, Office Depot.
Made by Humans: Staple Free Stapler. Eco Erasers: 50% PC recycled rubber.
Stubby Pencil Studio: non-toxic potato starch glue, paste. VOC-free.
Tree Smart: recycled newspaper and recycled plastic rulers
Notebooks and Paper: Look for paper that is tree-free, processed chlorine-free (PCF) and / or has high post consumer waste (PCW) content.
Ampad Envirotec: Notebooks, filler paper: 100% PCW, PCF. Amazon, Green Line Paper, Staples.
Ecology Naturals: Filler paper: 30% PCW, PCF. Green Line Paper
New Leaf Paper: Notebooks, filler paper: 100% PCW, PCF or 100% PCW & agricultural waste.
O’Bon: Journals: sugarcane pulp waste.
Office Max: Printer paper: 100% PCW, PCF.
Stubby Pencil Studio: Sketchbooks: 100% PCW, PCF or wheat and straw fiber.
Staples: Composition notebook and Spiral notebook: 80% sugarcane waste.
Terracycle: Printer paper: 100% coffee leaves, banana leaves, or straw.
Tops Second Nature: Notebooks: 40% PCW. Amazon, Green Line Paper.
Binders and Folders: Avoid vinyl. Look for high post consumer (PC) recycled content.
Aurora: Ring binders: paper or polypropylene over paperboard (70% PC). ½, 1, 1½, 2, 3”.
O’Bon: Ring binders (1”), folders, & more: recycled cardboard, soy inks, colorful designs.
Sustainable Group: ReBinders: 35-85% PC recycled cardboard. Remove and reuse metal rings with replacement covers. ½, 1, 2, or 3”. At Green Line Paper, New Leaf Paper.
Terracycle: Eco-Binder: 100% recycled paper. 1, 1½, 2”. Folders and binders (1”): Recycled cookie wrappers, chip bags, drink pouches.
Remember to support local: Request and purchase eco-friendly products at area retailers.
-Melissa Cooper Sargent
updated September 2012