The most important factor in ensuring a sustainable start to school is to make conscious choices when shopping. Parents can choose good quality, durable materials rather than continuously purchasing cheap products that break in next to no time. It's a good idea to write a list of all the things you need before hitting the shops. If you shop without a plan, you usually end up with lots of impulse purchases that aren't actually needed and just end up gathering dust in a corner.
Lots of trustworthy manufacturers are very open about what materials they use and the production conditions at their factories. The best of them also have their sustainable practices verified by independent institutes and accreditations. If a manufacturer is a „Bluesign System Partner“ that's an especially good sign, as you can rest assured that the raw materials in the product are "clean." Their manufacturing is also socially and environmentally responsible.
A schoolbag or backpack is one of the most important purchases for starting school. As well as choosing a bag that meets the highest ergonomic standards, parents and grandparents should also make sure it's sustainable. All ergobag backpacks are made from fabrics manufactured from 100% used PET bottles. This significantly reduces their environmental impact. Compared to other manufacturing processes, energy consumption is reduced by half.
Naturally, it's great if kids can keep wearing the same backpack from grades 1 to 4. Ideally, you should buy a model that „grows along“. Grade schoolers get the most fun out of their schoolbag if they can customize it for a new look—with Kletties, for instance, which are an easy way of decorating their backpack with new motifs. As well as being fun, this is much more sustainable (and cheaper!) than buying a new schoolbag when their taste changes.
The days of grey recycled paper and smudged ink are well and truly gone. Nowadays, recycled exercise books can easily keep pace with their traditional counterparts. And since they're made exclusively from reclaimed paper, they'e an environmentally friendly option too. As a shopper, just make sure you pick up the right thing. There are lots of different terms for recycled paper, and not all of them are legally protected, so it's best to look out for the recycled paper symbol.
If some teachers are still reluctant to use recycled paper at school, you can buy traditional paper certified by the FSC, which stands for sustainable forestry practices. The PEFC seals guarantees that the paper has been made in naturally managed forests.
Schoolbags and exercise books aren't the only things you need. School starters also need a pencil case, sports backpack, or neck pouch. There are also sustainable options for these Accessories which are manufactured fairly and are popular with kids at the same time.
And of course, any self-respecting sustainable pencil case needs sustainable stationery to fill it. The best option is to choose colored pencils made from wood and as few plastic items as possible.
Sustainable gifts for the first day of school are also available. For example: what kid wouldn't love a Drinking bottle, for inside their new schoolbag? These bottles are much more environmentally friendly than PET or single-use bottles. When making your purchase, make sure the item you choose is free from toxins and plasticizers such as BPA. It should also be durable, so it stays out of landfill for longer.
Lunch boxes are a great gift and also help protect the environment. A reusable box made from sustainable material stops kids from having to throw away sandwich paper or cling film every day.