Well it’s happened again, back-to-school is upon us and it’s time to start thinking about the annual school supplies shopping extravaganza. Over the span of those 13 years from Kindergarten to college, kids go through hundreds of pencils, markers, binders and that’s just the beginning! Traditionally, school supplies made quite an impact on our planet but lucky for the modern family, there are several brands blazing the ‘Eco Friendly’ school supplies trail.
We’ve searched for Eco products that give back for a win/win that parents can get behind and the coolness factor kids crave. Not to mention that the accessibility of online shopping saves gas, time and takes your Eco-Savvy up another notch or two. Here are our Eco-Friendly school supplies picks of 2012.
Paper - There is no denying the latest thing in Eco-friendly paper comes from TNF Eco Papers, better known as “The Banana Paper Company”. Made with eco-fibers from plants like bananas and pineapples combined with post-consumer natural paper, they have been dedicated to tree/acid free paper since 1992. Besides all of the facts, the best part is that this company makes adorable notebooks your kids will love, not to mention great loose leaf paper in every variety.
Pencils- I’m going to let you in on a secret, long gone are the days of the boring yellow pencil that breaks easily. In steps O’BON, the new black of pencils. Up -cycled from newspapers, these sturdy pencils are designed using the ‘rolling method’ which prevents led breakage and creates a longer lasting product. Sticking to our theme, this product redefines ‘pencil chic’ with amazing designs and unique color choices. These pencils come with one more perk, the company who makes them annually gives back by donating products to schools in need of supplies!
Binders- Remember all the time you put into decorating your binder only to tape it together in hopes it would finish out the school year with you? Well, Naked binders has the ultimate binder with easy to decorate PVC-free covers that last far longer than traditional binders. How strong are they? Strong enough to withstand 250,000 flexes, that is 34 years of use if you open them 20 times a day! Naked is also part of 1% for the Planet, so 1% of their proceeds go to preserving wilderness and open spaces–not to mention all of the unofficial donations to homeless shelters, schools, The American Alpine Libraryand a 25% discount for teachers.
Scissors- Westcott, the leading brand of scissors in the USA with several Gold Teachers Choice Awards, has made an environmentally conscious, stainless steel pair of kid-friendly scissors. With 70% recycled plastic handles and a 10 year manufacturer limited warranty, these are a great choice for the art box.
Crayons- There is no short list of great, eco-friendly crayons, so we picked our favorites to help you sort through the choices. First up are Soy Crayon Rocks from Crayon Rocks whose USA handmade crayons are derived from natural minerals and bee’s wax. These hand made crayons come in 16 colors and are CPSIA compliant, and a great option for younger children. Next up are non-toxic Eco Stars from Crazy Crayons who up-cycle old crayons into unique shapes sure to inspire any young artist. Last but not least, are Prang‘s soybean crayons which are completely biodegradable and come in the traditional shape with the option of 12-64 colors.
Glue- What could be better than a non-toxic glue that smells like Italian marzipan? Cocconia has made a wonderful glue stick that is petroleum and solvent free with a sweet almond smell that is perfect for youngsters and teens alike. This easy to use glue stick comes right off with water and with prices matching traditional glue sticks there is nothing sticky about which is the better choice.
Colored Pencils- Eco-Tree Colored Pencils are quite possibly the most unique colored pencils we’ve come across. Made from the trimmings of sustainable tamarind trees in Southeast Asia, your kids are sure to love coloring with these awesome pencils cased in real branches and are a great present idea to spread the Ec0-vibes around.
Back-Packs- While researching for this article, one name that came up again and again for the best in Eco-friendly bags was EcoGear. Inspired by one father’s mission to leave behind a healthy planet for his children, EcoGear strives to make a difference one bag at a time. These super functional back packs are made from organic cotton with non-toxic dye outfitted in recycled plastics, and just so happens to be PVC-free. Not to mention they are also part of 1% for the Planet–that is one earth friendly bag. The best part? These stylish bags come in all shapes and sizes to please the youngest and oldest in your family.
Water Bottles- We’ve told you before, but hear us again, Kleen Kanteen is the ultimate in style and function for reusable water bottles. Their BPA-free stainless steel and dishwasher-safe water bottles come in multiple sizes and shapes to fit everyone in your family. Not to mention they are also a part of 1% for the Planet, so you’re not only saving plastic bottles from the ocean, but you’re giving back to the planet.
Lunch Boxes- Reusable lunch boxes are an easy no-brainer for helping prevent unwanted waste, and the Bento box from Laptop Lunches is a multi-function, modern-day lunchbox cousin to more traditional styles. With five smaller, removable boxes that fit easily into the carrying container, this lunch box will keep your food squish free. It is also free of BPA, lead and PVC with the option of color or stainless steel. Your kids are sure to look foreword to lunch time.
If you decide to hit the store keep your eyes out for paper that has been recycled or created from sustainable sources. Binders that are made from recycled materials and ones that are PVC free are best. Any crayons or colored pencils made from soy or that have been up cycled and do not contain petrol are sure to be green. Be sure to keep your eye out for that handy three arrow recycled sign that lets you know products have been recycled or can be in the future. One more insider tip. Most of these products can be found at The Ultimate Green Store with 10% off school supplies using the code ‘ECOSCHOOL’! So gather the kids, get to shopping, and get the school year started right with these fun and fabulous eco- school supplies.