Guest Author - Meredith Ball
We see children each and every Fall hunched over wearing backpacks larger than they are. We hear them worry that they won't have the clothes the popular kids are wearing. And, we wonder why teachers demand such a long list of school supplies. This school year can be different when we put our green caps on and brainstorm how to simplify and help the environment at the same time.
Those large backpacks are not necessary if children don't have so many school supplies to lug back and forth each day. One way to decrease supplies is to have one binder for notes for all of your child's subjects. Or, a larger notebook with three or five dividers can do the trick. Aurora Binders are totally recycled and recyclable and available at Sam's Club for $6.50. There is no need for your child to carry five binders or large notebooks back and forth each day. In addition to saving trees and your child's posture, you will save money by purchasing only one binder or notebook instead of five or more. If your have several children this can result in an even larger savings.
Envirosax, EcoGear, ebags.com, and other companies are investing more and becoming more successful in selling their all organic, non-toxic dyed bags and backpacks for kids. If your child takes good care of these bags she can use them for several years which will warrant the cost ranging from $25 to $60. If not, then, find a few neighbors whose children are about to graduate from school and ask if you might be able to buy their backpack for a fraction of the cost. Freecycle and Craigslist are great options for finding good items for less, of course exercising caution in how and who you buy from.
Clothing can be quite a difficult issue, especially as children get older and become more interested in their appearance and popularity. This is always a good opportunity not only to teach children about the environment and ideas such as reuse and recycle, but also about core self-esteem and self image. Consignment shops and neighborhood clothing swaps offer the best option for reusing and recycling good clothing for less. Be careful to look at the clothing to see if it is made of organic cotton and non-toxic dyes. New organic clothing can still be quite expensive, but more and more consignment shops are setting aside organic clothing sections to make finding these clothes easier. If you already belong to a local parenting group of like-minded tree-huggers such as the Holistic Moms Network, then swapping organic clothing will be much easier. Hopefully your children will enjoy the various clothing options offered to them and will be proud that they are helping the environment too.
Start this school year off with ease, simplicity, less pull on your pocketbook and more love for the environment. Just think, the money saved can be tucked away into a savings account for your children's college in the future, and Earth will still be beautiful by the time your children are ready to go to college!