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Greener Ways to Shop for the New School Year

written by: Cheryl Gabbert•edited by: Niki Fears•updated: 11/2/2010

It's hard to believe that school is almost back in session again. Once again, it's time to start stocking up on school supplies. If you are looking for ways to consider our environment before you make purchases, you'll definitely want to check out this article on finding green school supplies.

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    Backpacks and Lunch Boxes

    When it's time to start a new school year, most kids want a new back pack and lunch box. When shopping for a back pack, look for sustainable materials, like hemp, wool, or recycled cotton.

    Try Wrap-N-Mat reusable bags for sandwiches. You simply wipe them off between uses. Not only will you save money on sandwich bags this year, you'll limit the use of plastic bags. Stainless steel water bottles keep your child free of plastic toxins leaching into their drinks. They also last a long time, so these bottles can be used for more than one year. Kid Konserve makes some great sustainable lunch kits, complete with recycled organic cotton napkins, cotton lunch bags, stainless steel food containers and drink bottles, and a sandwich kozy, which is a reusable sandwich bag.

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    Paper and Pencils

    If there is one school supply that's a must, it's paper. Instead of loading up on regular spiral notebooks, binders, and filler paper, why not go for 100% recycled paper. Sure, it's a bit more expensive, but you can purchase recycled paper in bulk, which helps keep the cost down. The added bonus is that you'll be teaching your child to respect the environment. Pencils and pens can be purchased that are made from recycled wood scraps and plastics.

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    School Clothes

    Consignment shops can save you money this fall on kids' clothes, and you'll be reusing clothing items that someone else purchased. Try a clothing swap with friends for fresh new-to-you school clothes too. When purchasing new items, look for fabrics made from recycled materials, organic cottons, and hemp. The manufacturing of clothing has become a chemical based process, so avoid these harmful chemicals by purchasing natural fabrics.

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    Art Supplies

    Crayons are one of the school supply staples for young children. Unfortunately, traditional crayons are petroleum based. Try soybean crayons, which are made from soybean oil and all-natural pigments. Soy crayons are also higher quality. They produce a smoother and richer hue when used. When looking for earth friendly markers and highlighters, search for brands that use recycled plastic. Red Apple School Supply is an online store where you can find a variety of earth-friendly art supplies.

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