Reuseit Insulated Lunch Box
Back-to-school time is right around the corner. Soon you'll be bombarded with so many advertisements for notebooks, planners, pens and other supplies, it will be hard to avoid buying products unfortunately, many of these items take a toll on the environment. So rather than running from store to store trying to find the greenest school supplies, look through this list compiled by The Daily Green to see this year's eco-friendly choices.
This roomy Reuseit Insulated Lunchbag is made in the USA from 100% recycled plastic. The material is PVC-free, lead-free and can keep food cool until lunchtime, thanks to the included nontoxic ice pack. To clean it, just wipe the bag down or put it in the washing machine and let it air dry. Price: $14.95
In general, it's a good idea to go with reusable lunch containers instead of disposable bags. If you can find a used lunchbox, you won't be using up any new resources (and your kid will get some retro cool points!).
LunchSkins Reusable Sandwich Bag
These colorful cloth pouches are bisphenol-A free, moisture-proof and a great alternative to plastic baggies. They come in all different sizes and designs, so use them for sandwiches, veggies, crackers or any other lunch goodies. When you're done, just toss them in the dishwasher. You can purchase Lunchskins bags online and at over 100 retailers in Canada and the U.S. Price: $8.95
If you don't want to buy new, you can also wash and reuse plastic bags for multiple lunches. Also consider packing whole foods, like apples and bananas, that have their own natural "packaging" to cut down on plastics.
GreenSmart Kea Backpack
The GreenSmart Kea Backpack is a perfect green solution for even the heaviest loads. All the fabric in the backpack is made from recycled plastic bottles, and 10% of GreenSmart profits are donated to nonprofit organizations. It's outfitted with plenty of pockets for organizing pens and pencils, has ample space for books, laptops and lunches, and is durable enough to last for this year and beyond. For an upgrade, try a backpack with solar panels to charge electronics on the go. Price: $60.80 (through August)
Simple Shoes Recycled Sneakers
For gym shoes, check out the eco-friendly sneakers from Simple Shoes. These kicks are made with organic cotton for the laces and linings, recycled tires for the rubber bottoms and post-consumer recycled paper for the inserts. Even the box is made from recycled paper, soy-based ink, natural latex and soy-based glue! Simple Shoes has options for boys and girls in basic and funky styles. Price: $42
Got a closet full of worn-out and too-small shoes? Recycle them! Nike is collecting used athletic shoes to be recycled and turned into athletic surfaces. The Nike Reuse-a-Shoe program has recycled more than 24 million pairs of shoes since 1990. Play on!
These journals from Ecojot are 100% recycled and 100% fun! The Canada-based company makes all of its products with acid-free paper, vegetable-based glue and ink, corn-based packaging and post-consumer recycled paper. The factory that prints Ecojot products runs on biogas harnessed from a landfill. Journals are available for purchase from a variety of retailers, both online and in stores.
Ecojot has partnered with Canopy and the Jane Goodall Institute to create collections that benefit these organizations. The company also donates a notebook to a child in a developing country with every purchase of a journal, jumbo journal or sketchbook. Price: $12
If you can't find Ecojot, look for Mead recycled notebooks, which are made with at least 30% post-consumer recycled paper and can be found at major office supply retailers and discount stores.
100% Recycled Paper
New Leaf Paper's multi-purpose copy paper is made from 100% post-consumer recycled fiber. The paper is manufactured in the U.S. with a chlorine-free process that is powered with renewable energy, making it a green choice for printing homework, papers and projects. New Leaf also offers printer paper, as well as an attractive resume paper for important documents.
New Leaf was among the first companies to bring 100% recycled paper to the market, back in 1998. New Life products have also been certified by the Forest Stewardship Council to ensure that no virgin forest fibers were used in production. Price: $8
To avoid going through copy paper as quickly, print on both sides of the sheet of paper. You can also conserve by keeping whole pieces of scrap paper nearby so you can print on the back for your informal needs like directions and reminders.
There are a lot of options for eco-friendly pencils these days. GreenLine Paper Company makes them out of recycled newsprint, recycled denim and recycled money. With pencils this cool, your kids will be sure to keep track of them a little longer. Price: 38 to 39 cents per pencil
To cut down on waste, save your old broken pencils for art projects. You can use them to decorate picture frames, mirrors or other crafts. Homemade gifts like these are great for teachers!
Recycled Motherboard Pen
This unique pen is made out of recycled motherboards from used electronics. It's the perfect back-to-school gift to get kids in the mood for science class! If you're looking for something a little more basic, Pilot and PaperMate each have a line of eco-friendly pens that are recyclable, biodegradable or made from recycled material. They can be found at major office supply retailers. Price: $4.99
If you can't find any green pens, consider getting some that can be refilled. You'll save money and reduce the amount of plastic tossed into the landfill!
Canon Recycled Calculator
This Canon desktop calculator performs all the basic functions, but without the basic waste. It's made from recycled Canon copiers and uses 100% post-consumer recycled plastic on the upper and lower casings. Its large display makes this calculator easy to use. Price: $19.99
If you're upgrading to a graphing calculator, consider selling your old one. You can make some extra money and help the planet at the same time!
Toshiba's Portege R705 laptop earned a gold rating from the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT), which is designed to inform consumers about the environmental impact of electronics. High marks are earned for reduction/elimination of environmentally sensitive materials, product longevity, ease of recycling, energy conservation, corporate performance and green packaging. The Portege's batteries are free of toxic lead, cadmium and mercury, and the whole machine was created with far lower levels of these chemicals than is typical. The laptop is durable and spill resistant and has a long battery life. It's built with extra security features to protect it from theft, and a LED backlit display to save energy. Portege R705 laptops can be purchased online or in Best Buy stores. Price: $889.99 to $1,299
Are you a Mac? Have no fear. Apple Macbook and Macbook Pro laptops are Energy Star approved and have received EPEAT gold ratings. Apple offers discounts to college students, professors and teachers. Perfect for a new school year! Price: $999 to $2,299