Going Plastic-Free; The Back-to-School Edition

by Shawn Binder on 08/20/2019 | 5 Minute Read

The sun is setting on another summer, which means everyone’s morning commutes are about to get a whole lot crazier as school gets back in session. Although the start of another school year means the promise of new friends, life-lessons, and test-anxiety, it also means the need for fresh new school supplies. According to the 2018 National Retail Federation (NRF) survey, families with elementary, middle, and high school children will spend a total of $27.5 billion or an average of $685 per household to ready their kiddos for the new school year. 

If that number shocks you, think about how much of that is specifically for unsustainable school supplies that are less likely to last an entire school year than their promise to do their homework on time? 

Children can be fickle, and they throw away supplies that cost our planet valuable resources almost as quickly as they throw away phases. So how can you send your kids back to school while being mindful of the impact their supplies have on the planet? Here are some of the best sustainable back-to-school items that will have them looking trendy and environmentally aware. You’re going to be the star of those PTA meetings, you rockstar parent. 

Stainless Steel Lunchbox

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Editorial photograph

Remember when your lunchbox was a status-symbol? Well, let's bring it back! 

It’s no Power Rangers or Garbage Pail Kids, but this sleek lunchbox set comes in a container with three separate boxes. This is the best sustainable lunchbox for children since it looks sleek and futuristic, plus it’ll be easy-to-clean. It’s like if camping chic met a three-course-meal. Also, it removes your need for those plastic lunch bags to separate sandwich from snacks. 

Onyx and Green 24 Pack of Colored Pencils

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Sometimes kids just want to color, and you’ll be damned if you’re the thing stopping them. Move over, Crayola, there is a new cool kid in art class. These pre-sharpened colored pencils are adorable and made from recycled newspaper. They’re sustainable colored pencils that look luxe, but won’t break the bank. Art born from the written word is cool. 

Sprout Eco-friendly Wood Pencils

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Editorial photograph

These pencils are tiiiiight. Seriously, sprout pencils are the only original, plantable and patented seed pencils in the world. These recyclable pencils are made from sustainably sourced wood, and are biodegradable and eco-friendly. They also happened to be lead-free, so they’re non-toxic as well. With how easily pencils break and get discarded, these eco-friendly writing tools are perfect. If only they could make sure little Timmy or Tina got an A on their math test. 

Decomposition Notebook

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The best eco-friendly notebooks for back-to-school also happen to look the trendiest. If you’re looking for a cool notebook that won’t break the bank or the planet, we’ve got you covered. These inspired illustrated notebooks make your old composition jawn look dusty and old-fashioned. Plus, these notebooks are made from 100% post-consumer-waste recycled pages. 

Onyx and Green Scissors

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Scissors are typically not something you think you can get plastic-free, but it’s 2019 baby!! These scissors’ handles are made from corn plastic (yes, you read that right!) which means they’re biodegradable and ready to help your child snip snip into a brighter future. 

Recycled Paper 

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Tired of having to print term-papers? Well, we can’t fix that but at least you’ll feel better about it with this recycled paper made from Sugarcane fiber which is a renewable resource that grows at the same rate or faster than we use it. This eco-friendly paper alternative is a sustainable solution to a global paper problem. For context, Americans use more than 90 million short tons of paper and paperboard. That's an average of 700 pounds of paper products per person each year. So this alternative is definitely chic! 

KAUKKO Laptop Outdoor Backpack 

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Most backpacks are made from nylon, which is very difficult to break down over time. If you want to provide your child with the best eco-friendly backpack for school, look no further. Jansport is shaking because of this sleek and affordable back-to-school backpack made from high-end canvas that is both durable and eco-friendly. 

Bamboo Ruler

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Even though your child’s iPhone could technically use augmented reality to measure most things in life, learning skills is chill. Having an eco-friendly ruler for back-to-school is important since those flimsy all-plastic ones are only good for settling playground arguments with a few good slaps. 

Onyx and Green are leading the pack when it comes to eco-friendly school products. Sure, plastic rulers tend to be price-conscious, they’re also unsustainable. Made from bamboo, this is the best ruler for back-to-school: 100% recyclable and sturdy as hell. 

Cross Classic Century Lustrous Chrome Fountain Pen

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Let’s talk about statistics people. According to this article, in early September 2005 Bic sold its 100 billionth disposable ballpoint pen. Each pen is approximately 5.5 inches long and when you multiplied by 100 billion = 8,680,555 miles which could circle the earth 348 times. Oh! Did I mention that 2005 was 14 years ago and wee live in a plastic hellscape? Refillable pens are a great alternative. 

Multifunctional Office Writing Cork Desk Pad

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If your child uses any sort of laptop or workspace at school, this cork desk pad is a great alternative to their plastic containers; it’s 100% recyclable and will protect their little wrists from more inflexible surfaces. When the desk pad becomes worn down, it can be returned to the earth without feeling guilty. 

Klean Kanteen

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If your child is sporty, those plastic water bottles add up! These reusable water-bottle alternatives are chic and durable. They’re machine-washable and keep your beverages hot for 24 hours or cold for 48! Dannnng that longevity! Plus, these eco-friendly water bottles come in various colors and will help your future Olympian express themselves while saving the planet. 

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