Eco-friendly school supplies

28th Sep 2021

Eco-friendly school supplies

The inevitable last-minute round up of stationery and accessories for the start of a new academic year often means hasty purchases of pens, pencils and ring binders, without a thought to their impact on the environment.

Recycle symbol made from reused fabric

Top tips for sustainable school supplies

Use what you have

Reuse unfinished supplies from last year. Reusing helps offset the manufacture of new products, and means you’ll be contributing less to waste packaging.

Choose natural products

Source writing materials and equipment made from non-toxic, sustainable materials where possible.

Reduce, reuse, recycle

Completely avoiding plastic isn’t always feasible. However, recycled plastics or refillable products can help reduce plastic waste over the long term.

Everything in moderation

Only buy what you need. The temptation to overprepare or buy something that might be needed can lead to unnecessary waste.

Quality over quantity

High-quality products will last longer than cheaply made ones. This creates less waste over time.

Stocking a plastic-free pencil case

In the past, buying eco-friendly often meant sacrificing style for sustainability.

That’s no longer true. Cork, cotton and plant-based fabrics, like jute, are all widely available and just as versatile, stylish, and durable as plastic designs.

Sustainable pens and pencils

Pencils are typically wooden, although some – like technical pencils – may use plastic casings.

Many green companies will highlight the source of their wood, giving consumers confidence that their purchases did not contribute to harmful deforestation or habitat destruction.

Sustainable pens are becoming more common. Some are made with bamboo, wheat or metal bodies with metal tips and ends. Others utilise plant-based plastics, like corn plastic, or recycled industrial or consumer plastic.

Rule plastic out

Wooden and metal rulers were commonplace before plastic rose in popularity. However, there’s no reason not to embrace tradition again.

Wood and metal are also widely used for other equipment, like geometry sets and pencil sharpeners, alongside modern options like wheat straw rulers.

Natural rubber, or recycled material like elastic, is better for the environment than common synthetic rubbers, both during manufacture and at the end of their useful lives.

Bag made from plant-based jute fabric

Organisational resources

Teachers and students alike need supplies like notebooks, binders, and administrational stationery. With recycled or biodegradable plant-based plastic options, a sustainably stocked workspace can be a reality.

A range of possibilities exist: from plastic wallets and binders to staplers, scissors and calculators. There’s even a wireless bamboo computer mouse on the market!

Stocking recycled paper reduces deforestation and waste, while natural rubber bands and bamboo push pins can replace plastic ones.

Eco-friendly lunchboxes

Using airtight, reusable containers can avoid squished sandwiches and new plastic sandwich bags each day. Now the vast range of bamboo and stainless-steel lunch containers on offer are bringing an added eco-conscious twist.

Lunches prepared at home with ingredients purchased from a low-waste food shop can keep energy and nutrition levels up and minimise packaging.

Natural lunchboxes also help avoid concerns over BPA, phthalates and the possibility of harmful bacteria breeding in hidden cracks.

Staying hydrated and eco-friendly

A reusable water bottle or mug brings an added element of eco-friendly utility to health and wellbeing. Showing off a trendy water bottle may also encourage children to consume still liquids other than sugary carbonated drinks.

Throw everything in a sustainable rucksack

No child wants to stand out from the crowd for the wrong reasons. Thankfully the burgeoning market for sustainable fabrics means environmentally friendly backpacks are reaching new levels of style.

Whether it’s repurposed or recycled materials, or natural, plant-based textiles, there are designs available for even the most discerning student.

Stainless steel reusable lunch container

The future of eco-waterproofing

For some, a waterproof bag will be a necessity. ‘Green’ waterproofing technologies currently consist of recycled plastic or expensive waxed canvas. Recycled plastics still shed microplastics when washed or worn.

Buying from ethical companies who acknowledge the current market shortfalls, but donate to or invest in research for new environmentally friendly technologies, can effect change for the future – even if a sustainable option isn’t available.

Need more eco-friendly lifestyle tips? Our blog archive contains a variety of ideas you can adopt into your daily routine, from reducing food waste to creating a more ethical kitchen.

And of course, if environmentally friendly catering or event hosting is on your mind, our range of biodegradable, reusable tableware is the perfect place to begin.