There are many ways to cut down on wasted paper, supplies, electronic waste, plastic, and even ways to inspire others to do the same. Whether you are a parent looking to be green this year with a K-12 student or you’re a college student trying to be more sustainable, this article can help you go back to school sustainably!

1. Reuse old school supplies.tim-gouw-69753-unsplash

Many of us loving walking into the office supplies stores and smelling the beautiful scent of brand new materials; however, it is much more sustainable to reuse your old school supplies as much as possible. Plus it’s cheaper! Finding ways to cut down on the materials you buy can go a long way in terms of cutting back waste. Consider holding a supplies swap with family, friends or classmates to find even more of the things you need to start the school year. If you need new notebooks or paper, look for those made from recycled materials.

2. Pack your own lunch.

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Packing your own lunch helps cut down on those disposable school lunch trays and utensils. By packing your own lunch, you can use things such as reusable food containers, utensils, and lunchboxes. There is even reusable plastic wrap out there! By packing your own lunch, you can also eat leftovers, reducing wasted food in your household. This not only helps the environment, but all of these options can help you save money too! Look for any switch you can make by eating lunch in a more sustainable way.

3. Use reusable water bottles and coffee mugs. andrew-neel-_71nlAn-2YA-unsplash

Many adults and college students need a cup of coffee in the morning to get moving. Consider bringing your own reusable mug on your next coffee run, some stores will even give you a discount for bringing your own mug. This helps cut down on harmful Styrofoam cups, or wasteful single use paper and plastic cups. Don’t worry- these reusable cups are easy to find in hot or cold varieties, and there are even reusable straws!

4. Buy refurbished technology.

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Buying refurbished technology can cut down on electronic waste. Most times you are able to find refurbished technology that is just as good as buying new!

5. USe both sides of the paper- or not at all. brandi-redd-ajtiw00qqti-unsplash.jpg

Cut back on wasted paper by printing on both sides. With today’s technology it easy to go paperless. Even when taking handwritten notes, an easy switch can be writing on both sides. If you have unwanted papers with old notes on them, be sure to recycle them!

6. Join or create a sustainability club. perry-grone-lbLgFFlADrY-unsplash

You can do anything from improving your school’s recycling program to encouraging your school cafeteria to reduce it’s wasted food. Encourage your school to buy items made from post-consumer recycled content such as printer paper.

7. TaKe advantage of online or used textbooks and online libraries. freestocks-org-RgKmrxpIraY-unsplash

Another way to cut down on wasted paper is by ordering online textbooks instead of the traditional textbook. If you like having a physical textbook, consider buying used instead of new!

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