Back to school season can be a stressful time for parents. Prepping your child for a year of learning is no easy task – especially after spending last year online learning. Any store or mall is bound to have a back-to-school section filled with shiny new markers, notebooks, binders, and any other academic goodies. But before you rush out and buy the whole store, here are a few tips to keep costs and your carbon footprint down. 

See What You Have at Home 

Not everything needs to be purchased. Most kids already have a big stash of markers, colored pencils, scissors, and notebooks at home stuffed into a closet. Take a pencil case and see how much you can fill it up with things you already own. You probably have piles of school supplies from the year before that are in perfect condition. Sure, the crayons may not be shiny and new, but the most eco-friendly purchase is the one you don’t make! 

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Ask For a List

Did the teacher send out a list with the school supplies for that year? If not, ask her for one! Buying what you think your child might need for school is a great way to end up over-purchasing. Knowing how many notebooks, dividers, and binders they need for a productive school year will ensure they aren’t left with a bunch of brand new but useless school supplies that sit on a shelf the entire year

Buy Things When You Need Them 

Alternatively, if you don’t want to buy an entire list of school supplies when you don’t even know if your child is going to use them, try the “buy as you go” method. This essentially means only purchasing what your kid needs for school when they need it to avoid buying extra school supplies. You’ll still have to get them the basics before school starts, but specific supplies for potential projects over the year should only be bought when they know they need them. 

Secondhand School Supplies 

The best part of living in the age of the internet is being able to buy almost anything secondhand online. Want a Paw Patrol bookbag? There it is half price! What about a bunch of unused notebooks? Add to cart and buy! Kids have been taught that every year requires a brand new bag and pencil case, and if your child isn’t up for bringing their old bag to school, you might be able to find them the perfect secondhand alternative to a shiny, new polyester bookbag. 

Try Your Best 

We know making eco-friendly changes with children is sometimes easier said than done. The pressures to conform are intense in school and not every student is going to understand why someone would choose to bring used materials to school. If there need to be a few compromises along the way that is completely fine. Small eco-friendly steps are better than nothing, so see if you can get them excited about a second-hand bag or markers they already own! 

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Good luck!

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