Go Green this Back-to-School Season

It’s that time again – whether you’re back to your own college classes or sending your kids off to the big yellow school bus, many of us are in back-to-school mode. One of the basic items on the back-to-school prep list is, of course, school supply shopping – pencils and backpacks, oh my!

You’ve gotta load up for fall, yes. The only problem is, buying a whole slew of new stuff isn’t so great on your carbon footprint count – conventional school supplies like bleached, non-recycled filler paper, plastic pens, and VOC-caked vinyl backpacks make for one non-eco-friendly shopping trip.

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What’s an eco-friendly green gal or guy like yourself to do? Buy green school supplies, of course! Here are some suggestions to get you started:

Paper

First things first: you can’t get any work done without paper. For a quick green option, all those recycled reams of paper found in your local office supply store are great – many companies are now turning to recycled materials and even soy-based inks.

But, if you want to go one more awesome step to being green with your new school supplies, check out Eco Paper. They’re a totally tree-free paper company, specializing in paper products made from bananas, coffee, mango, hemp, sugar, lemon, and more! Their processes use no petroleum, chemicals, less water, and only use inks based from veggie oils or soy; it’s 100% biodegradable awesomeness – in notebook, binder, and paper form!

Or, give The Banana Paper Company a try – they feature several super-adorable styles of banana paper products – another totally tree-free choice!

Writing Utensils

Once you’ve got your rockin’ new paper in tow, you’ll of course need the tools to write your brilliant thoughts with. Enter Buffalo Natur, an awesome green office supply company that features everything from calculators made from recycled plastic to corn-plastic staplers to rulers crafted from bamboo. Their line of pens made from up to 95% recycled materials will have you writing away in the most sustainable way you can.

For pencils, check out Greenciles, a pencil line made from 100% recycled paper – no wood products are used in these pencils whatsoever. Greenciles says it best when they ask: “Have you ever thought about what goes into making a pencil? First of all, a tree needs to be cut down in order to supply the wood. Then, graphite needs to be inserted inside the pencil so you can write. When it’s all said and done, what you end up with is a standard, ordinary pencil that isn’t actually eco-friendly. And that process is only for one pencil.”  With around 14 billion standard pencils produced each year, that’s quite a burden on our planet – so, go green, even with those pencils!

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Binders and Folders

Once you write down your immaculate and oh-so-brilliant notes down on your recycled paper with your spiffy new earth-friendly writing utensils, you’ll need to store everything somewhere. Enter companies like Earth Binder and Naked Binder, both of which sell recycled binders that will store your stuff and love the earth at the same time.

Bags

Need a new bag to carry all your new loot? Buffalo Natur also carries a great line of padded laptop cases made from materials like recycled goods and natural jute fiber.

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Want more choices? I love Rawganique’s line of organic hemp backpacks and laptop cases. In an assortment of colors made from organically-grown, sweatshop- and chemical-free materials, you’ll be green stylin’ from campus to the library and back again.

Whether you’re greening up your current school supply or starting fresh this year, make sure to check out some of these brands doing awesome things for the environment. You’ll feel good about your back-to-school gear, which will leave your mind and conscience clear for more important things – calculus, anyone?

Image Source: Dvortygirl/Flickr