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Plastic-Free Living

How To Stay Clean and Low Waste This School Year

Written by: Clare Cogan, Customer experience @blueland

September 2, 2020

As summer winds to an end, many folks are putting away the sunscreen and thinking about what’s just over the horizon: school! And even though school won’t be the same as it was in years past, it’s still hard to shake the excitement of the new year. So as you prepare for back-to-school season in decidedly unusual times, keep in mind the following suggestions to help keep your space clean, and low waste!

A Clean Start To The Semester:

This year get an A+ for keeping clean! Whether you’re at school, in a dorm, or learning from home, these cleaning tips are key:

Wash your hands: Did you know that washing your hands is one of the best ways to keep clean? According to the CDC, handwashing can help reduce the spread of respiratory infection by 16%! So wash up and wash often! And make sure you wash your hands for at least 20 seconds for the most effective clean.

A Low Waste Start To The Semester:

Now that you’re all set to start the semester off clean, make sure to start it off green! These low-waste items can help you head back to school in style, without the waste

1. New Leaf 100% Recycled Composition Book

This composition notebook by New Leaf is made out of 100 percent recycled materials, with 95 percent of those materials being post-consumer recycled content. Post-consumer recycled content is material that has reached the end of their life-cycle and use. This means that New Leaf’s notebook is taking material directly out of a landfill, and repurposing it into a crucial school supply!

2. Sprout World Plantable Zero Waste Pencil

The plastic and graphite in regular and mechanical pencils end up in landfills and ecosystems all over the world. Why not replace that waste with planted seeds? Sustainable PEFC-FSC certified wooden Sprout pencils are zero-waste and have a non-toxic natural clay and graphite core. And instead of an eraser, they’re capped with a biodegradable seed capsule. When your pencil gets too stubby to write with, just stick it in some soil as per their planting guide, and the seed capsule will break down and plant a seed!

3. Tree Smart Color Pencils

These creative art supplies are turning daily news into artistic expression! As you can probably guess, these pencils, rulers, and colored pencils are made out of recycled newspapers! The newspaper is rolled tightly around the graphite, making a durable pencil that easily sharpens. No toxic chemicals are used to bind the newspaper together, and this set of 12 colored pencils is packaged in a travel-friendly cardboard tube.

4. Eco Dry Highlighters

Stubby Pencil Studio creates these neon-colored, dry, eco-friendly highlighters out of wood from sustainably managed forests. They are also made with a natural finish, so they are biodegradable (no plastics, no ink solvents, no volatile organic compounds). They’re jumbo sized too, making it easy to highlight in one stroke, plus they won’t bleed through the page like standard highlighters.

5. United By Blue Eco-Friendly Backpacks

But of course, what good are any other eco-friendly school supplies without a way to tote them around? That’s why you’re going to need an eco-friendly backpack, like the ones from United By Blue.

United By Blue is primarily a sustainable outdoor clothing brand that sells everything the eco-conscious outdoor lover needs. This includes clothing, camp supplies, everyday reusables, and even ethical swimwear. They’re a certified B-Corp that partners with Fair Trade and GOTS-certified factories and aim to make as little impact as possible. And for every product sold, they sponsor the removal of one pound of trash from the world’s oceans. So far, that’s over 2 million pounds.

Their backpacks are made of natural materials like organic waxed cotton canvas, or vegetable dyed REPREVE recycled polyester. With double stitching and DWR finishes, they are designed to last, and they come in affordable options designed for kindergarten or a college campus!

6. Upcycle For Supplies

Arts and crafts are the perfect time to upcycle materials and give them a new life. Bring in those shipping boxes, paper scraps, extra holiday ribbons and anything else you find lying around and make the perfect craft box. This can help to give new life to old items and keep classroom costs down!

7. Save Power And Unplug

Whether you’re learning and teaching in person or at home, chances are you have quite a few devices running. Charging laptops tablets to their full power and then unplugging them can help save energy and preserve the device's battery life. Hold off on charging until absolutely necessary, and when possible unplug yourself as well! Get outside or take a stretch for a much-deserved break!

For more eco-friendly tips for kids, check out our article on eco-friendly crafts to entertain the kids at home.


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