When it comes to going back to school, many parents are scrambling to find eco friendly school supplies for their children. If you don’t know what these are, they’re typically made from recycled materials like paper or plastic bottles. And they are supplies that generate zero or very low waste, which means their either durable, biodegradable or recyclable.
Going eco friendly when it comes to school supplies will help your kids learn without harming the environment around them and as an added bonus will help to reduce toxins in their daily lives.
Typically schools use a lot of paper, a few billion sheets to be exact. Considering there are 56 million school children in the US along – that quickly adds up. Then if you include other school supplies into the mix you’ll quickly realise how much waste a single school year can generate. A big portion of the waste generated is non-recyclable plastic that will live in landfills for longer than you will.
Let’s have a look at our favourite examples of eco friendly school supplies that your child will always use!
1. Eco-Friendly Backpacks
Eco friendly backpacks are one of the most popular back to school items. You don’t have to worry about the idea of your children carrying around heavy, non-recyclable plastic containers all day long. Fortunately for you, there are now eco-friendly options! There’s no need to compromise on style either, with many brands offering a wide range of colours and designs to suit your needs.
If you’re looking for something that is more durable than your average backpack, there are plenty of options to choose from. These include recycled polyester fabric backpacks that come in a range of colours. The fabric is tough enough to withstand anything your kids will put it through, making it one of the most perfect eco friendly school supplies for the active student.
Solgaard has set themselves an ambitious goal; to cut ocean plastic in half by 2025. They are doing this by helping to stop plastic from flowing into the ocean from polluted rivers. They’re doing this by installing plastic filters downstream.
One of the best things about Solgaard backpacks is that they are sustainable because with every item sold you are saving 229 ocean-bound plastic bottles.
Solgaard works with partners in the Philippines, Indonesia and China who work to create local jobs pulling plastic out of the ocean that can be upcycled into useful items.
Solgaard backpacks are made with recycled plastic, aluminium and polycarbonate all super strong and super durable materials.
United by Blue
United by Blue backpacks is one of the most popular eco-friendly backpacks you can find. They’ve been creating apparel for over 10 years and with that, they’ve figured out what is workable and what isn’t. When it comes to sustainable materials, they use an impressive range of the latest and greatest fabrics made from recycled plastic. In fact, they exclusively use environmentally friendly and ethically sourced materials.
You’ll often find the folks from United by Blue right in the middle of a cleanup project, hauling old tires, gathering plastic and bits of things on the beach. They’re on a mission to eliminate the need for cleanup days! That’s why they work to generate less waste with their product range and utensil kits.
If you’re looking for a backpack that does more than carry your children’s stuff, then investing in a United by Blue bag is a good place to start. They make transit and commuter backpacks ideal for storing books, a laptop and the little bits in-between.
Buy United by Blue
2. Zero Waste Crayons
Crayons are a staple of any child’s school life and often the plastic packaging that they come in is too. Luckily, there are now eco-friendly, zero waste crayons that you can use at home or in the classroom.
These eco-friendly crayons are made from wax and pigment so are just like the ones you’re used to. They have a really smooth, creamy texture when they’re drawn on paper too.
The best thing about eco-friendly crayons is that they’re made from plant and mineral ingredients and not paraffin wax like some commercial brands. They work as a reusable alternative to the landfill-bound plastic crayons your children will be used to.
Wrapper free scented crayons
Well if you’re looking to calm your kids down a little while they are colouring then you’ll love these scented soy and beeswax crayons.
They are all-natural and infused with a blend of focus enhancing and calming essential oils that have a slightly earthy aroma. So it helps the little ones focus while practising their artistic skills. You’ll find these crayons are a triangular shape as it helps children to develop their fine motor skills by practising holding a pencil grip – which is super clever – they also won’t roll off the table which is something parents of smaller children love right?
Buy from Etsy
Wrapper free eco-friendly bunny crayons
We couldn’t resist adding these super cute bunny crayons to our list. They are 100% handmade in the USA from soy and beeswax. They come in different shapes, sizes and colours but the bunnies are by far our favourites.
Get them from Etsy
3. Eco-friendly school supplies – pens and pencils
Pens have been a staple of any desk for years before pencils were invented and now we’ve got eco-friendly alternatives.
You can find quite a few amazing eco-friendly pencil sets. They use non-toxic inks and are made from recycled materials so you can feel good about your purchase.
To make traditional wooden pencils, you need a lot of wood. Many of which are made from non-sustainable wood sources.
Deforestation caused by making wood products irresponsibly has a massive impact on climate change and it destroys the habitat of local wildlife. Recycling a 12.5 feet stack of newspapers saves a pine tree. And pencils are the perfect example of how old newspapers can be reused and made into something new.
It extends the shelf life of newspapers, which is usually not much more than a single day so it’s a win-win all around.
Eco Paper Pens
Pens are such a disposable thing, they get passed around and are very often not used until the ink runs dry. It’s also understandable that you may not want to buy a youngster a durable metal pen as they can easily get lost. So what can be done?
Well, you do get more eco-friendly pens that compare to the more disposable plastic clicky pens that we all grew up with.
These eco recyclable paper pens come in eco-friendly packaging and are made from recycled paper. They use up to 85% less plastic than a traditional pen and is manufactured using recycled kraft paper. The ink is non-toxic.
If you’re looking for a guilt-free pen. And you don’t want to worry about it getting lost or being misplaced, then these crafty pens might be just the thing you need.
Buy from Etsy
4. Reusable water bottles
Every year, an estimated billion plastic water bottles end up in landfills or pollute our oceans.
That’s a lot of waste that your children can help you to eliminate with these reusable water bottles. They come in all shapes and sizes from stainless steel sports bottles for the gym-goer to kids’ sippy cups and straws so they can enjoy their water or juice every day.
There’s no need to buy bottled water again with reusable bottles that come in so many different colours and sizes!
These stainless steel engraved bottles by the Custom Happiness Shop on Etsy are great for school because they are toxin-free and there will be less chance of it getting lost as it’s personalised. The wide mouth design makes them super easy to clean and they are nice and compact so will fit perfectly into a school bag.
Buy from Etsy
5. Plastic-free lunch boxes
Plastic lunchboxes are a thing of the past. And if they’re not, then you’ll be doing your children’s health and environment a favour by buying one that is.
You can find so many sustainable lunch options these days like stainless steel containers with matching cutlery or eco-friendly reusable sandwich bags for kids that have a water-resistant lining.
Plastic lunch boxes may contain toxins that are bad for your family’s health, especially if you plan on putting them into a microwave. On the other hand, stainless steel lunch boxes are toxin-free and will last many years.
We love these personalised Stainless Steel lunch boxes with Bamboo lids. As they are personalised, it will be a lot harder to lose. And yes, we all know that the little ones are prone to losing things so if this happens the personalisation will give you a better chance of finding it again for sure!
If you need a little help with eco-friendly lunch ideas, we have just the thing! Read our ultimate guide to making healthy packed lunches.
Buy on Etsy
6. Sustainable pencil cases
If you’re looking for a plastic-free alternative to the traditional pencil case then we have found the perfect substitute. A vegan-friendly cork leather zip pencil case! The pouch is perfect for art supplies and other essential eco friendly school supplies.
It’s super durable and easy to clean with a damp cloth. These pouches are unlined and have a handy lobster clasp to clip keys onto. You can even personalise it with a customised eco-friendly pencil case tag!
We love this leather zip pouch because they are so durable and eco-chic. After all, it’s not every day that you find a pencil case made of eco-leather!
Buy on Etsy
7. Onyx + Green Glue Sticks
Onyx + Green Glue Sticks are made from eco-friendly materials. The tubes are made from post-industrial recycled plastic, recycled rubber and recycled PET bottles along with recycled bicycle tire inner tubes.
“The Greener the Better” is Onyx + Green’s motto which means they are constantly looking to make more eco-friendly products that can help to reduce emissions and harm to the planet.
The glue itself is non-toxic and made with 88% natural materials. It dries clear and works just as well as traditional glue sticks.
Buy from Etsy
8. Plastic-free bamboo ruler
We’ve all had our fair share of plastic school rulers right? Even though these aren’t single-use plastic items, they’re still made of plastic. If you are looking for an alternative to the old-school plastic ruler then a Bamboo ruler is a great swap. They are durable and bamboo is a fast-growing and renewable crop.
Buy from Amazon
9. Pela cellphone case
The Pela Cellphone Case is great for those of you who are looking for an eco-friendly phone case.
It’s a compostable phone case made from plants and it’s been verified to meet standards for compostability. So when you no longer need the case you can place it in the compost. These cases are nice and sturdy and will protect your teen’s phone from scratches and drops. Pela cases have natural shock absorption.
The Pela range is very big so it’s likely that you’ll find a case for your model of phone.
Buy from Pela Case
10 Eco-friendly notebook
Made from a recycled Kraft paper sleeve these beautiful notebooks are BPA, Lead and Phthalate free. These notebooks are not only beautiful they’re also durable and can be used outdoors as they are water-resistant.
Buy from Etsy
Closing Thoughts – Eco Friendly School Supplies
We can’t guarantee that these eco-friendly school supplies will make the school year completely waste-free. But it will definitely help to reduce waste, pollution and plastic. Given how much emphasis is placed on sustainability in schools, chances are that your kids might be asking for eco friendly school supplies which is great.
Why not involve your children in the decision making process, it will teach them about responsible shopping and help them to be conscious consumers when they’re grown up and need to make buying decisions themselves. We do need to preserve the planet for future generations after all right?
If you have eco friendly school supplies that we didn’t mention and should be added to the list please let us know. We would love to hear from you!