A guide to going green for the back-to-school season

August 9, 2019 by  
Filed under Eco, Green, Recycle

As summer comes to a close, our focus shifts to back-to-school. There’s so much to do between registering, shopping, picking up supplies and coordinating all the activities filling the calendar. If you’re looking for ways to act more sustainably this school year, we’ve got you covered in multiple areas. Transportation We all know that using our cars consumes fossil fuels and leaves a carbon tire print. Unless you live in a town that shuttles kids to school via electric trolley, it’s hard to figure out a sustainable way to transport the kiddos back and forth. This is a case of progress over perfection, and remember that every act helps. Related: The Akshar Foundation is creating sustainable schools to teach children important life skills Walking and biking are the most sustainable ways to get to school. Older kids can trek off on their own or with a group of friends. Escort younger kids and get in your exercise, too. If you don’t live close enough for biking or walking, consider the public transit system. The buses and subways are running, so using them instead of your car staves off air pollution . The same goes for the gas-guzzling school bus. It will run the route every day whether kids ride or not, so it’s a more eco-friendly option to take advantage of the bus service instead of driving each day. If driving is your only option, set up a carpool before and after school to minimize the number of cars going to the same place. Be sure to shut off the engine while you wait at the bus stop or school. Clothing One of the only things many kids get excited about when heading back to school is the new school clothes. As you know, though, clothing doesn’t have to be new to be hip, cool or trendy. Head out to the thrift shop to scour the options. When you do buy new, look for organic cotton, bamboo and other natural fabrics . For a fun option, host a clothing swap party. You know your daughter is constantly trading clothes with her friends anyway, and it’s the perfect opportunity to clean out the closet before the school year begins. Have everyone bring their pre-loved clothing, belts, handbags and shoes to the party, where they can reconnect with each other as summer comes to a close and maybe find some new clothes they love at the same time. Lunches Sometimes getting kids to eat healthy food at home is enough of a challenge, but mix that with portability and the fact that you’re not there to supervise, and lunchtime might start to feel like you’re playing the lottery. Let your kids have a say in what they want to take for lunches, but set boundaries. Remember the toddler stage when they got to make their own decisions about which of the two outfits they would like to wear that day? Same concept. Offer healthy meal and snack options, from which your child can choose. Make lunchbox-friendly entrees in advance, freeze items for easy grab-and-go snacks and breakfasts, re-package bulk items ahead of time and make a meal plan to minimize the morning hassle and simplify the grocery shopping. Map out two weeks of lunches, and repeat the schedule so the same lunch only comes around a few times each month. Agree to ban single-use water bottles and individual packaging from the lunch box. Use stainless steel or glass containers instead of plastic resealable bags. Order or make some reusable beeswax wraps for sandwiches. Add a metal or other non-plastic lunch box, and you have the foundation for a nearly waste-free lunch system. School supplies The basic laws of minimization apply here. Start by taking an inventory of what you already have. Check that tote of pushed-aside writing utensils, and resharpen the crayons and colored pencils. Inspect markers, pens and pencils. Grab the compass and protractor your older child no longer needs to give to the younger kids, and reuse the same rulers. Finish filling up the notebooks from last year when applicable, and make a few book covers. Chances are you even have tissues and 3×5 cards around that you can donate to the classroom. Once you’ve compared your inventory to the supply list, streamline your shopping. Make a “must have” list and vow to stick to it, at least for the first round of school supplies. There seems to be a phenomenon that makes kids feel they need the newest, shiniest everything before school starts, yet a few weeks in, any pencil will do. Related: The pros and cons of online versus in-store shopping When you do make school purchases, think long-term. Buying quality items is an earth-friendly decision that benefits everyone. Look for durable backpacks and binders that you won’t have to replace each year. Avoid themed folders and bags that your child will want to replace when the superhero phase passes. Beyond durability, hunt down sustainable options like those that are biodegradable , refillable and recyclable and contain post-consumer content and recycled materials. Reduce paper While you’re gearing up for the new year, look for ways to minimize paper communication by getting your email updated. Add your child’s teachers and administrators to your contacts, and sign-up for electronic classroom updates if possible. With any papers that do come, be sure to reuse or recycle them after they are no longer needed. Sports and activities With the new school year comes uniforms, gear and supplies for the extra-curricular activities, too. Again, look for secondhand gear, or borrow from friends. Hit up the local sporting goods resale shop or online marketplaces. When it comes to fundraising for those uber-expensive requirements, send flyers electronically, watch for wasteful packaging from vendors and seek out services the team can offer instead of products to sell. Also take advantage of carpool options for practices, games and competitions, and put all those activities into your meal planning calendar to avoid the dinner hassle. On activity nights, plan ahead for a slow cooker meal or leftovers instead of relying on fast food or pre-packaged dinners. With just a bit of planning, you can get the school season started with all the right supplies and habits needed for a successful and sustainable year. Images via Element5 Digital , Jaden C. , Prudence Earl , U.S. Department of Agriculture , Dawid Ma?ecki , Freddie Marriage and Picture Back

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A guide to going green for the back-to-school season

Score this kids cargo bike in our Inhabitots Back To School giveaway

August 10, 2016 by  
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It’s that time of year when kids head back to school, and here at Inhabitat , we’re here to help kick off the back-to-school spirit with our kids and parenting site Inhabitots . We recently spotted this sweet kids cargo bike by Republic Bike that is perfect for carrying book bags and lunches in its spacious wooden crate, and we’re teaming up with Republic Bike to give one away to some lucky kid in the next few weeks. To enter the contest, read on… a Rafflecopter giveaway GRAND PRIZE: Kids Cargo Bike from Republic Bike Worth $349 The Kids Cargo Bike comes in a range of fun colors like “sour apple” and “magenta”, and encourages kids to embrace green commuting at an early age. The Republic Kids Cargo bike has three wheels, with two up-front around the wooden storage bucket, in an inverted tricycle design. Not only is it easier for kids to ride a kids cargo bike than a traditional two-wheeled bike, but the ample storage space with the wooden storage bin allows kids to tote around their book bags, lunches, water bottles, sports gear and other stuff without a clunky backpack swinging around on their back to throw them off balance. This fun ride encourages kids to get outdoors and get exercise, as well as riding to school. In addition to being a more eco-friendly commuting option than your minivan, biking to school gets your kid’s blood flowing in the am and provides the benefit of morning exercise before school which helps with concentration in class. + Republic Bike *Contest is only open to the lower 48 states for shipping reasons (sorry, that excludes residents of Alaska and Hawaii).

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Score this kids cargo bike in our Inhabitots Back To School giveaway

Go back-to-school with these creative DIY projects using recycled materials

September 15, 2015 by  
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Back-to-school season tends to produce a lot of waste, but there’s a way to put all of it to good use by upcycling it. Hold onto your packaging, paper towel tubes and glass jars, and transform them into cute, personalized, and eco-friendly crafts with a few clever upcycling ideas from Hometalk. From rustic recycled calendar boards to shipping pallet stationary holders, these brilliant back to school DIY ideas are an education in themselves. READ MORE >

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Go back-to-school with these creative DIY projects using recycled materials

GIVEAWAY: Win a Voltaic solar backpack in Inhabitat’s Back to School Contest (worth $330)!

September 2, 2015 by  
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It’s hard to believe, but fall is nearly upon us and a new semester will be in full swing sooner than we know it. Where did summer go? If you’re heading off to school, Inhabitat is here to help you hit the books with a smarter footprint – and in this year’s Back to School Contest we’re giving you the chance to win a Voltaic solar-power backpack to keep your phone and other gadgets charged all day! No more running out of juice between classes, and having to search for a power outlet. Our GRAND PRIZE WINNER will receive a $199 OffGrid 6W Solar Backpack , packed with 6 Watts of solar energy to power your phone, tablet, and USB devices anytime, anywhere. And our two RUNNER UP WINNERS will snag a $129 Converter Solar Backpack that will power you through a full day of classes. Read on to learn how to enter! HOW TO ENTER: 1. SIGN UP FOR THE INHABITAT NEWSLETTER HERE >  We’ll be announcing the winners in our  weekly newsletter , so you’ll need to receive it to find out if you won! 2. LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW  telling us why you need a Voltaic Solar Backpack . The deadline for this giveaway is September 11, 2015 . We’ll choose the comments we like best and announce the winners in our newsletter, so make sure you’re  signed up ! DEADLINE IS 11:50 PM SEPT 11 Read the rest of GIVEAWAY: Win a Voltaic solar backpack in Inhabitat’s Back to School Contest (worth $330)!

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GIVEAWAY: Win a Voltaic solar backpack in Inhabitat’s Back to School Contest (worth $330)!

10 Ways To Start The School Year Green And Healthy

August 14, 2015 by  
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I don’t know about you but it will be a big shift for our family to get back into the school ‘schedule’. We’ve been up late, sitting around campfires, eating whenever we feel like it and loving the lack of structure. All of that is about to change…

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10 Ways To Start The School Year Green And Healthy

House Doctors: Branch Basic’s Spot-Off Cleaning Prescription

August 14, 2015 by  
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Don’t you just love it when you can prove someone wrong? For the women who founded Branch Basics, their foray into natural cleaning was spurred by the need to prove doctors wrong -to say NO to a dire diagnosis of a sick, barely-getting-by life and…

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House Doctors: Branch Basic’s Spot-Off Cleaning Prescription

RECIPE: Seriously Yummy No-Bake Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookie Bites

September 7, 2014 by  
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Think you can’t get kids to eat chickpeas? Or even some adults for that matter? This recipe for vegan chocolate chip cookies is packed with vegan protein, manganese, antioxidant phytonutrients, and folate, and it will win over even the most hardened chickpea skeptic! It also uses maple syrup and coconut sugar, so you don’t have to brace for the intensity of a white sugar rush afterwards. Read on to learn how to turn the humble chickpea into a dreamy, bite-sized treat. READ MORE > Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: baking , chickpeas , chocolate , cookies , desserts , Inhabitots , organic food , recipe , recipes for kids , vegan , vegan chocolate chip and chickpea cookies , vegan recipes , vegetarian

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RECIPE: Seriously Yummy No-Bake Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookie Bites

PUBLIC Bikes are Stylish Rides Ideal for the Urban Cyclist

September 4, 2014 by  
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Read the rest of PUBLIC Bikes are Stylish Rides Ideal for the Urban Cyclist Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: back to school contest , bicycle , bicycles , bicycling , bike , bikes , city bikes , City Biking , contest , cycling , cyclists , inhabitat contest , pinterest , public , PUBLIC back to school , PUBLIC bicycles , public bikes , urban bike , urban biking

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PUBLIC Bikes are Stylish Rides Ideal for the Urban Cyclist

‘Pink Slime’ Makes a School Lunch Comeback in Seven U.S. States

September 13, 2013 by  
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Kids are back in school – and so is the ground beef filler known as “pink slime.” Last year, thousands of U.S. schools rushed to stop feeding their students the ammonia-treated lean beef product . But according to new government data acquired by Politico , schools in a total of seven states have resumed buying the controversial product and will be feeding it to children. Read the rest of ‘Pink Slime’ Makes a School Lunch Comeback in Seven U.S. States Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: dangerous foods , e.coli , food safety , food that can make you sick , food unfit for human consumption , Ground Meat , hamburgers , illinois , iowa , lean finely textured beef , mcdonalds , Meat , Nebraska , News , Outrage , pennsylvania , pet food , pink slime , Public School , Public School board , salmonella , school spending , south dakota , sustainable food , texas , unhealthy living , United States Department of Agriculture , usda , virginia , what did I eat last night        

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‘Pink Slime’ Makes a School Lunch Comeback in Seven U.S. States

Google’s New ‘Street View’ Maps Let You Dive in the Galapagos Islands!

September 13, 2013 by  
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Google has coursed the Amazon , swam the Great Barrier Reef and scaled the Burj Khalifa – and now the tech giant has launched their latest Street View Trekker project with a collection of incredible maps of Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands . Allowing users to become “Darwin for a Day,” the 360-degree street view maps swim with marine life and hike over islands that Darwin likely encountered in his historic venture 178 years ago. Viewers can even help with ongoing conservation in the region by identifying the plants and animals on screen. Read the rest of Google’s New ‘Street View’ Maps Let You Dive in the Galapagos Islands! Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: catlin seaview , charles darwin , charles darwin foundation , converstaion , galapagos islands , galapagos national park , google conservation , Google maps , Google Street View , google trekker , iNaturalist , sea lion , Street View , street view trekker        

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Google’s New ‘Street View’ Maps Let You Dive in the Galapagos Islands!

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