Getting Smart and Sustainable with School Supplies

group of kids walking to school with backpacks

The new school year is right around the corner, and for many parents and students, that means it’s time for a restock on school supplies. But this year, instead of going for the same old gear you normally get, you can make a concerted effort to focus on eco-friendly options for your most important school supplies, from new shoes to reusable food and drink containers.

Back-to-school season is traditionally a time for buying new clothes, backpacks, and other supplies. However, the carbon footprint of the average school child is already quite large, and the increasing demand for resources to meet this demand is putting strain on the environment. In order to reduce the impact of back-to-school shopping on the environment, people should focus on buying sustainable products. Garments made from renewable resources, such as bamboo or hemp, are a more environmentally friendly option than conventional cotton. Similarly, paper products made from recycled paper or sustainable forestry practices are a better choice than virgin paper products.

Below, we’ll highlight a few key items you can easily replace with sustainable products made from recycled materials. You’ll see how simple it can be to make environmentally conscious decisions when you do your back-to-school shopping!

For New Shoes, Buy from Keen

One of our favorite sustainable footwear partners, Keen has put a ton of thought into how to make shoes that check all the boxes of form, function, and eco-friendliness. This is especially true of their kids’ shoe line, featuring dozens of styles and fits perfect for a back-to-school pair for toddlers, little kids, and grade-schoolers alike. Keen’s aim is to produce a shoe that will last your kid the entire school year, so they use strong yet sustainable materials that will stand the gauntlet of challenges your little ones present to them over the course of the year.

As the school year gets under way, it's important to make sure your kids have the right footwear. Whether they're learning in the classroom or from home, they need shoes that are versatile and durable. Keen’s back-to-school shoes fit the bill perfectly. From sandals to boots, sneakers to slip-ons, they’ve got the right style for every child. If your kid is a wilder type who will definitely put their shoes to the test, for example, the Chandler CNX sneaker has great traction and rugged construction to weather grass, asphalt, and dirt play. Or if you want to buy just one shoe that can do everything, the Newport shoe has an adjustable fit, breathable mesh, and materials designed to last through all four seasons. And because they believe in sustainable fashion, all of Keen’s shoes are eco-friendly and made to last. So you can feel good about your purchase knowing that it's good for your child and good for the planet.

Food and Snack Bags from ChicoBag

It's no secret that school lunches typically generate a lot of waste. From plastic containers and baggies to plastic water bottles and disposable cutlery, the list goes on. But it doesn't have to be this way! There are plenty of eco-friendly swaps you can make to reduce the amount of waste your child's lunch generates. For example, instead of packing snacks in plastic baggies, try using eco-friendly food and snack bags. These reusable bags are perfect for carrying everything from apples to pretzels to cookies. And when it comes time to eat, ditch the disposable forks and knives in favor of an eco-friendly utensil set. These sets usually come with a fork, spoon, and knife, all made from sustainable materials like bamboo or stainless steel. Drinking water is also essential for growing kids, but instead of sending them off with a single-use plastic water bottle, invest in an eco-friendly water bottle or insulated bottle. Not only will they stay hydrated throughout the day, but you'll also be doing your part to help reduce plastic pollution. Lastly, eco-friendly food containers are a great way to reduce waste at lunchtime.

School lunch bags and sandwich baggies are a ubiquitous part of school life, but the traditional paper and plastic options are, to say the least, not very eco-friendly. Every day, countless plastic and paper bags end up in the trash, contributing to landfill waste and pollution. However, there are alternatives to traditional lunch bags and baggies that are more sustainable and eco-friendly. To replace these harmful and problematic lunch storage options once and for all at the start of the school year, consider buying reusable food and snack bags from ChicoBag. ChicoBag makes a variety of reusable bags and baggies that are perfect for school lunches. Their products are made from post-consumer recycled materials, so they help to reduce landfill waste. Plus, their reusable bags and baggies can be used over and over again, which cuts down on the need for plastic and paper bags.

The classic ChicoBag is known for its durability and compact design, which will come in handy when your kid has finished lunch and needs to stuff their lunch bag back in their backpack or even their pocket without worrying about losing it. And ChicoBag’s Snack Time RePete sandwich bags, made with a secure hook-and-loop enclosure and stain-resistant liner, are not only a better way to store sandwiches but also will help replace 1,825 single-use bags throughout its life. That means you’ll be able to go sandwich bag shopping exactly once–it doesn’t get easier than that. So if you're looking for a more sustainable way to pack your child's lunch, consider ChicoBag products.

Utensil Sets from ChicoBag

Though plastic cutlery has become the norm in school cafeterias, there is a more sustainable option that is gaining popularity: bamboo utensils. Bamboo is a strong and sturdy material that can withstand years of use, making it a more durable option than plastic. In fact, each bamboo utensil can replace up to 1,300 plastic utensils over its lifespan. Not only is bamboo more durable, but it is also eco-friendly. Bamboo is a renewable resource that grows quickly and does not require the use of pesticides or fertilizers. It also requires far less water to cultivate than other materials, making it an ideal choice for eco-conscious consumers. Purchasing a set of reusable bamboo utensils is a simple way to reduce your reliance on disposable plastics and help protect the environment, and each set comes with a utensil case made from 100-percent post-consumer recycled plastic bottles. In addition to being hand-finished with a food-safe coating and BPA- and phthalate-free, ChicoBag bamboo utensils are dishwasher-safe and their cases are available in four different colors.

Help kids cut down on a dependence for plastic spoons, knives and forks by purchasing sustainable, reusable cutlery sets from ChicoBag!

Klean Kanteen Kids’ Water Bottles

School is one of the best places to start instilling eco-friendly habits in kids. After all, they spend a big chunk of their day there, so it's the perfect opportunity to teach them about sustainability. One easy way to do this is by sourcing school supplies that are environmentally friendly. Klean Kanteen water bottles, sippy cups and baby bottles are made with stainless steel and safe, BPA-free materials designed specifically for kids. They're durable, sustainable and perfect for school use. Plus, they come in a variety of fun colors and designs that kids will love. By switching to eco-friendly school supplies, you can help make a difference for the environment and set your child up for success in the future. Easily transition as kids grow up, with interchangeable caps to fit all of our Classic bottles, so it is easy to go from Sippy to Sport to Loop Cap. With a narrow profile for easy gripping, our kids’ bottles are ready for childhood’s wildest adventures.

Kid Kanteen water bottles are the best way to stay hydrated at school or on the go. They are made with durable stainless steel that can withstand daily wear and tear, and they come in both single-wall and vacuum-insulated options to keep drinks hot or iced all day long. Plus, the chip-resistant Klean Coat™ finish is not only durable but also environmentally friendly. So whether you're looking for a sustainable and eco-friendly option for yourself or your school, Kid Kanteens are the perfect water bottles for your little ones.

Food Containers from Klean Kanteen

We've all been there before: Waking up late for school and scrambling to put together a lunch. More often than not, this means reaching for a disposable container to throw together a sandwich or some leftover pasta. But what if there was a better way? Klean Kanteen food containers are an excellent replacement for disposable and plastic containers. You can pack snacks, lunches and leftovers in them, and they come in a variety of sizes and styles. And, just as important, using sustainable and eco-friendly products like Klean Kanteen containers is a significant way we can help make a big difference for our planet. Next time you're packing a school lunch, reach for a Klean Kanteen container. Upgrade school lunch by saying goodbye to lukewarm fruit and sandwiches in brown paper bags and tupperware, and saying hello to high-quality stainless steel food containers.

As the summer comes to a close, many families are beginning to prepare for the upcoming school year. Before that time comes, perhaps this is a good moment to reconsider your approach to back-to-school shopping and gear it toward providing high-quality, reusable products for your child to help cut down on waste and smart, sustainable habits. There are a number of eco-friendly school supplies available that are made from recycled or sustainable materials. For example, instead of buying plastic notebooks, you could opt for ones made from recycled paper. Or, ditch the disposable water bottle and invest in a reusable one made from stainless steel. These small changes can make a big difference in the amount of waste produced each school year.

In addition to being eco-friendly, sustainable school supplies can also be just as stylish and functional as their traditional counterparts. So, there's no need to sacrifice fashion or function when making the switch to sustainable products. By making more sustainable choices when back-to-school shopping, people can help to reduce their carbon footprints and make a positive impact on the environment.