Shop Eco-Friendly This Back-to-School Season

We have reached the tail-end of summer, which means schools across the country will be opening their doors in just a couple of weeks. It is the time when families will be swarming stores for pencils, notebooks, and new clothes.

While you try to keep up on the latest clothing trends for your kids and check off your ever-growing school supplies list, we know it's hard to focus on making your shopping a little greener too. But we'd encourage you to make an effort to reduce your environmental impact by purchasing items that are sustainable and will hold up longer than one school year.

Luckily, we have a compiled a few simple tips on how to put an eco-friendly spin on your back-to-school shopping.

Reuse School Supplies

Just because it is a new school year, doesn't mean you have to replace all of last year's supplies. Before you even step inside a store, take a look at the supplies you already have. There are sure to be pencils, pens, and binders from previous years that you can use. When it comes to notebooks, just tear out and recycle the pages that have been written on.

The most effective way to reduce your environmental impact this school year is to your reuse the items you already have. By doing so, you are also saving money by limiting your spending.

Pro-tip: Rubbing alcohol will remove marker from binders and glossy folders. They'll look good as new!

Go Reusable for Lunch

When packing your child's lunch, focus on creating a zero-waste meal. Start with packing a meal in a reusable lunchbox that your child can use every day. Then use metal or glass containers for food items. To avoid constantly buying plastic water bottles, invest in a reusable bottle that your child can refill throughout his or her day at school.

Visit the Ultimate Green Store to find a wide range of eco-friendly lunch items. If you want to avoid plastic altogether, My Plastic Free Life has compiled a list of lunch-time items just for you.

Be Conscious About Clothing

Out of all the categories of back-to-school shopping, clothing can be the most expensive and the most environmentally harmful. According to the National Retail Federation, it is projected that clothing and accessories will be the top expense for families with children in grades K through 12, at an average $239.32 per household.

The fast fashion clothing items that families will likely purchase this year also take a toll on the planet. Nearly 3.8 billion pounds of clothing is sent to landfills each year, which equates to 80 pounds of clothing per individual in the U.S. Many clothing items contain fabrics that are non-biodegradable, so they emit harmful gases that contribute to global warming.

So, to avoid breaking the bank this school year and harming the environement, shop at secondhand or thrift shops. You will save money and you are guaranteed to find one-of-a-kind items for your child. While you are at a thrift store, donate old used clothing items that no longer fit to avoid having those items end up in a landfill.

The Planet Aid Thrift Store opened its doors in June in Rockville, Maryland. The store offers a wide range of back-to-school necessities, from clothing to shoes to backpacks. Each purchase benefits development projects around the world.