Summer is almost over and school is right around the corner. To make getting prepared easier on you and your family, we’ve put together a back-to-school shopping guide filled with products that reduce waste and help lessen your collective environmental footprints — from preschool to high school.
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Re-Zip Seal Lunch Bags
The perfect solution for plastic baggie waste, these reusable lunch bags by BlueAvocado have a leak-proof double-lock closure that seals in freshness. Freezer safe and hand washable, they are ideal for snacks, sandwiches, and more.
Two-Tier Snack Stack
Does your student need a new lunch box? This compact, reusable lightweight carrier from To-Go Ware is a perfect size for kids’ lunches. It has a self-latching top container that can be used solo for snacks or smaller meals and it’s great for both hot and cold food.
Reusable Stainless-Steel Water Bottle
Liberty Bottles’ kid’s collection bottles have fun patterns, encouraging children to stay hydrated. The vacuum-sealed, double-wall stainless steel bottles will keep drinks cold or hot for hours and will last for years to come.
Hand Sanitizer Spray
Schools are full of germs, so send your little one prepared. The Honest Company’s hand sanitizer uses plant-based ingredients to kill 99.9% of germs and bacteria. The quick-drying spray leaves skin feeling soft, without a sticky residue.
Help your kiddos take on the world with Better Life’s hypoallergenic and biodegradable liquid soap. Free of sulfates and petroleum, it gently cleans hands and body without harming the environment. A blend of aloe, botanical extracts, and vitamin E nourishes the skin.
Oxy-Boost Stain Remover
With its naturally-derived ingredients, this bleach alternative from Natural Choices effectively breaks down organic stains like food, blood, and urine using oxygen for effective de-staining and deodorizing. Oh, and it keeps your whites naturally white and colors bright without harmful chlorine or phosphates.
Fruit and Vegetable Wash
Easily wipe away pesticides, pathogens, wax, dirt, germs, and more with this 100% natural, nontoxic fruit and vegetable wash from Eat Cleaner. An added bonus? The food grade wash inhibits browning and helps food last up to five times longer. Bon appetit!
Biodegradable Laundry Detergent
Keeping kids’ school clothing stain- and odor-free can be a challenge. But with Mrs. Meyers 4X concentrated laundry detergent, you have nothing to worry about. Its dirt stain-fighting enzymes pack a punch on schoolyard stains, and essential oils leave clothes smelling fresh. It is compatible with both HE and conventional machines.
After disposing of plastic baggies, ditching plastic wrap is the next step. These beeswax wraps from Bee’s Wrap are made in the U.S.A. with certified organic cotton, responsibly sourced beeswax, certified organic plant oils, and tree resin. They are a more sustainable, reusable alternative to clear plastic film. Brighten up your children’s lunchbox with these handy wraps.
Send your child back to school with recycled pencils from Bazic. Made from 100% recycled newspapers rolled around No. 2 graphite, they’re just as sturdy as wooden pencils and last longer. The pencils are nontoxic and the eraser tips are latex free.
On the high-tech end of the list, Rocketbook’s reusable digital notebook comes with a special pen that allows the pages to be erased with a damp cloth (included). Additionally, this notebook pairs with an app that allows for uploading notes to the cloud. So, after filling the book, your student can scan their notes electronically, then erase the book for further use, without wasting paper.
Images courtesy of woodleywonderworks, Flickr. Originally published on August 7, 2015, this article was updated in August 2022.