Thursday, August 14, 2014

Parents and Kids to Think Green for Back to School! Tips to Reduce Back to School Waste

San Diego children and parents are winding down from summer and gearing up for back-to-school. And when it comes to purchasing new items, whether it is clothes or school supplies, green practices can always be implemented. Many decisions made now regarding waste reduction and conservation will also have significant impact on the future of young people by conserving the planet’s resources, reducing the impact of global climate change and conserving landfill space.

Healthy, environmental practices begin at the store. When purchasing supplies, consider those with less packaging and less waste to reduce the amount of trash that will be thrown away once you are home and opening the product.

Not only will these tips teach children the importance of being environmentally conscious, but it will also help parents save throughout the school year. San Diegans can prepare for back-to-school by considering the following ideas that will help reduce, reuse and recycle supplies.

Reduce the Amount You Buy and Reuse Last Year’s School Supplies:

  • Spiral-bound notebooks may still have unused paper.
  • Three-ring binders may have some life; add stickers or decorative tape to mend damage.
  • Use leftover dividers by creating new labels.
  • Test pens, pencils, markers and highlighters before throwing them away or buying new ones to make sure they still work.
  • Bring a reusable lunch bag, including reusable forks and spoons.
  • Durable plastic sandwich and snack bags as well as glass and metal food containers can be reused and are dishwasher-safe.
  • Pack cloth napkins instead of paper.
  • Buy products with less packaging that way less waste will be generated.

Recycle and Buy Recycled

  • Donate or give your friends unwanted supplies. This can range from clothes to backpacks, to lunch boxes.
  • REMEMBER YOUR PURCHASING POWER! Every time you as the consumer buy a product made from recycled material, it encourages the manufacturer to make more recycled goods. Everything from paper, to binders, to pens and pencils, rulers, book bags and clothing can be purchased with recycled content or post-consumer waste.

For more information on waste reduction ideas, recycling, composting and other related topics, contact the City of San Diego Environmental Services Department at 858-694-7000, or visit the ESD recycling website at:

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