Send junior to school in eco-friendly style. Avoid backpacks made of nylon or new plastics, especially PVC (vinyl), and look instead for bags made from recycled materials or natural materials, such as hemp.
Rawganique and EcoBodyWear feature different hemp styles, while Simple Shoes offers bags with eco-friendly features such as recycled PET straps and coconut buttons (the Combover style is shown here). Their supercute Blottoe hemp messenger bag falls into Simple Shoes' Best category, which is their most sustainable line. Recycled rubber is another option. If your kid is into alternative forms of energy (whose isn't?), Voltaic's groovy solar-powered backpack is the way to go.
Kids can help reduce the burden on trees by using recycled paper made from post-consumer waste, the market for which prevents used paper from going into the landfill. The higher the recycled content the better. And encourage kiddies to use up an entire notebook before moving on to the next one!
OfficeMax, Office Depot, and Staples all offer notebooks made from recycled paper. The Green Office is another source for notebooks made from 100 percent post-consumer waste. Britain-based Sukie makes Rescued Paper notebooks from -- you guessed it -- rescued paper. And EcoJot (pictured) creates stylin' notebooks from 100 percent post-consumer waste and vegetable-based dyes.
Unless your student is turning in her résumé, kids should use printer and copy paper made with recycled content. The big office stores have various recycled content options from different brands. Green Earth Office Supply offers a Tree Friendly Recycled Paper sampler, which includes "tree-free" paper, made out of materials such as hemp and recycled maps. Little kids might be intrigued by elephant dung paper.
Folders and Binders
Look for recycled file and pocket folders. Green Line Paper company sells Earthwise 100 percent recycled portfolio folders and report covers. Green Earth Office Supply sells binders made from recycled computer circuit boards and recycled rubber. And Treecycle offers binders made from 45 to 100 percent post-consumer waste plastic as well as recycled cardboard (pictured).
Pens and Pencils
Refillable pens are a great choice, since only the ink needs to be replaced, but you can find disposable pens made of recycled materials.
These Wheely pens and Woody ballpoint pens do double duty -- they're made from recycled rubber, plastic and wood, and they're refillable. The Green Office also offers nontoxic disposable pens, or you might go for straight recycled plastic disposables from Green Earth Office Supply. Big brand Pilot has gotten in on the act with their BeGreen line of pens (pictured), made from recycled materials.
Mechanical pencils are a good choice as well, since they can be reused, but tree-free pencils are an eco-friendly option. Look for disposables made from recycled materials, such as old denim or newsprint.
Odds and Ends
When filling a desk with various supplies, remember that there is probably a greener option. Does your little genius like to stick reminders and study aids around the computer screen? Make 'em recycled Post-its (pictured).