Greening Back to School

It came in the mail the other day, addressed to “Parent(s) of ____”. Inside the envelope, bearing the familiar school logo, was a sure harbinger of fall – the mascot’s eighth grade supply list. As far as lists go, I have to say that this one isn’t bad. Gone are the days of crayons, finger-paints, oversized scrapbooks and epic shopping trips that would take us to 4 different stores before we could find the right brand of printing practice paper. This year, the teachers are taking it easy on us with a short list of easily procured items; binders and loose-leaf, pens and pencils; pretty standard stuff. In fact, I think the only difference from what I would have brought for my first day of grade 8 was the techie addition of a pair of 2GB USB memory sticks. If we had had them back then, I know I would have coveted these upcycled Lego memory sticks custom made by Stefan of 123 Smile (pictured above). Data storage has never been so much fun!

I wonder what supply lists will look like 25 years from now; perhaps schools will be completely paper-free by then. In the meantime, look for notebooks and filler-paper that contain recycled content or carry FSC certification. With more and more companies jumping on the eco-bandwagon, it’s becoming easier (and more affordable) than ever to find “green” alternatives. And, while you’re at it, encourage your kids to conserve paper as much as possible. I shudder to think of my old habit of writing on only one side of the page. Using both sides is not only eco-friendly, but it will allow you to use your notebooks for twice as long; something you will definitely want to do if you are using a book as cool as the one pictured above by Disconsolator. Hand-screened with an original design on organic cotton cloth, this 5×7” book is filled with 72 (144 front/back) sheets of unlined FSC certified paper; perfect for jotting down assignments and doodling in study-hall.

The only thing that is better than having a fresh supply of paper is a good, sharp pencil to attack it with. Check your local stationary store, or do a quick search online, for pencils made from reclaimed newspapers, money and even denim. To keep your supply clean, sharp and at your fingertips, choose a durable pencil case, like this one by Vancouver’s Galstudio; handmade out of recycled bicycle inner tubes & reclaimed fabric with a sturdy plastic zipper to keep everything safely inside. The fun printed fabric that lines the case is a colourful surprise and keeps everything inside from sticking to the rubber.

Of course, once the school supply shopping is out of the way, our thoughts will turn to the always-important back-to-school wardrobe. If I remember correctly, the goal of every eighth-grader is to find a balance between blending-in completely and showing a little individuality. Since the standard “uniform” of boys his age is the ubiquitous “jeans and a t-shirt”, my son lets his personality come through with his trademark messy hair and his clever t-shirt choices. These shirts by Non-fiction Tees, with their brainy designs, are perfect for kicking off Jake’s school year in style. Who knows…they might even earn him extra credit with the science teacher (if not the grade eight girls)!

Announcement: Galstudio is having a Back-to-School contest! Share a favorite school memory of your own on Galstudio’s Facebook page for your chance to win a FREE Scuola Pouch like the one pictured in this article!

  • Handknit Hugs
  • Twirly Fabulous Upcycled Sweater Skirts
  • Rainbow Crochet Toasties
  • Aisles and aisles of tiny boxes
  • Fiber Jewelry by Susan Sanders
  • A pincushion for every day
  • Crescent Maille
  • Fabric Balloon Ball For Big & Little Kids

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