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Eco-friendly back to school ideas

It’s nearly time to head back to school, and there’s lots to be excited about! New projects, new opportunities to make a difference, more chances to learn about our wonderful world! It’s also a good time for a fresh start, and it’s possible to make even going back to school an opportunity to help the environment! Here are some ways how…

Ditch the clingfilm and sandwich bags..

The Eco Snack Wrap can be used for sandwiches and other snacks

…and the tin foil and the disposable lunch boxes! Change over to using a reusable lunch box and you’ll be making a huge saving in the amount of waste you produce. There are lots of alternatives as well as packed lunches, like the Eco Snack Wrap and The Leaf which are reusable sandwich wrappers.

Local lunches, seasonal lunches

What food is in season when

If you’re bringing your lunch with you, try to find ingredients that are grown and produced close to where you live. The closer they are, the less distance they will have had to travel to get to you, which means less greenhouse gas emitted and energy used along the way! You could also try to east seasonal food – food that’s available when it’s naturally available, rather than having been cultivated in greenhouses or far, far away and shipped over.

Meat-free Mondays

If you have school meals in your school, why not campaign for your school to start doing meat-free Mondays? Eating vegetarian in kinder to animals and better for the environment, and even making that one small change a week can have a huge positive impact!

Walk, ride, scoot…

Sustrans have lots of resources for planning cycle and walking routes to school

Get active on your journey to school! If you live close enough, try to have what’s called an ‘active commute’. This just means opting to walk or use another human-powered way of getting to school or work rather than using a car, bus or train. You could run, skip, use a scooter or ride a bicycle! And as well as reducing the amount of pollution that’s produced by not using something with a motor, you’ll also get exercise, fresh air, and a chance to see nature in your neighbourhood. What could be better?!

Reusable bottles and cups

These waterbottles from Schoolbottle have a place to write the students name, available from

Single-use bottles and drinks cups are a huge source of pollution, with tonnes of them ending up in landfill every day. Reducing or eliminating them in your life is super-easy to do and a simple way to make a big difference quickly. Grab yourself a reusable water bottle and coffee cup, and you’ll be all set. There are so many fun, colourful designs available, it’s not hard to find something that’s just your style.

Recycled paper (and other materials!)

For notebooks and work pads, try to find ones made from recycled paper. It’s still good quality for writing on, and If you can’t find recycled paper, look out for paper that’s made from wood from sustainable sources; for example, it may have the FSC mark which means it’s been approved by the Forestry Stewardship Council and been judged to be well managed.

Pencil case made from recycled bicycle inner tubes, from Urchin Bags on Etsy

You don’t have to stop at paper though! You can find bags made from recycled tarpaulin from trucks, pencil cases made from recycled rubber from tyres, and pens and pencils made from recycled plastic!

Eco-friendly washing

School kit needs a lot of washing, so try to choose laundry liquids that are environmentally friendly. There are lots of brands out there making this such as Ecover and Method. They’re also gentle on delicate skin! Try to do full loads in the washing machine as it’s more efficient, and of course choose a low-temperature wash like 30 degrees; it’s better for the environment and saves money too!

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