Summer… where did you go? Seriously… it seems like just yesterday we were chanting ‘school’s out for summer’. Now, every store is reminding us it’s Back To School with aisles and aisles full of the ‘necessary back-to-school items’ – plastic writing tools, plastic binders, dividers, sticker, highlighters, notebooks… you name it.
We get the hype in back-to-school shopping. Everyone wants to start the school year off right, with the best tools to do so. Unfortunately, marketing has taught us that the right tools are the ‘brand new’ tools, and we need to replenish our supply every single year.
Have you ever thought about the waste created by school supplies? Think plastic pencil cases, plastic pens, plastic-covered notebooks… all designed to last one school year at most and will consequently sit in landfills for hundreds, maybe even thousands of years.
Our schools are laden with plastic. Not only is this severely harming the environment around us, but also think about what kind of message this sends to our youth. A plastic world is not okay, and by transforming the classroom, we are transforming and educating the minds of our future.
We’ve compiled a collection of our favourite back to school items – high quality, plastic-free items that will last – good for you and good for our planet. Whether you are a teacher, sending your child to school, or a college student, here are 5 ways to have a plastic-free school year.
1. Take Note of Your Pencils
If there’s one mandatory school item, it’s the pencil. Pencils usually contain the least amount of plastic compared to other school items… so they are an easy place to start. Our favourites are these Earth-friendly and 100% plastic-free pencils. These pencils are made from recycled newspaper and are packaged in a box made from recycled newspaper.
Want to go a step further? Ditch the plastic sharpener and opt for an entirely sustainable metal sharpener.
2. Ditch the Cheap Plastic Binders.
For pretty much any age, binders are a must to organize school notes. Unfortunately, you’ll be hard-pressed today to find a binder not made entirely of hard plastic, or at least plastic-covered. These are impossible to recycle, and inevitably end up in a landfill or our environment. So unsustainable.
3. Double Check What You Actually Need
Have you seen a back-to-school shopping list lately? It’s basically a short novel. A horror one in plastic waste terms. Do yourself a favour and think about what you really need. Do you have highlighters and pens from last year that can make it through one more? Use those.
4. Invest in Good Products
It sounds simple, but, investing in good quality goes a long way. I remember when I was in elementary school, I bought a new ruler and geometry set every year. I would buy the dollar store version, and of course, the hard plastic would break within a few weeks.
There is a greater up front cost, of course, but high-quality products pay for themselves in the long run.
Life Without Plastic offers a geometry set that skips plastic in a big way. It has a ruler, protractor, and triangles all made from bamboo. There is also a wooden pencil sharpener, a non-toxic eraser, and metal compasses. All packaged in a bamboo case.
5. Write in Style
If you’re looking to get a little fancy, ditch plastic and disposables entirely and choose the ever so stylish fountain pen. Our selection of Diplomat fountain pens have been made in Germany since 1922 in the best tradition of precise craftsmanship. They are durable and will replace hundreds of disposable plastic pens during their lifetime.
Enjoy your plastic-free school year everyone!