Friday, 19 August 2016

Weekly Green Tips - 7 Green back to school tips

Week 20 - Green back to school tips

For some the new school term has already started although for others there is a bit more time to get organised before children head back to school.  So have you thought about how you can make this Back To School a bit greener?  It's a great way to instil some environmental values in our kids and could save you some money too. Here are my 7 was to make your return to school a green one.

7 Green Back to School Ideas

1.  School Uniform

Buy second hand - try charity shops, internet sites such as Ebay or maybe your school runs a second hand shop.  Link up with other parents and share clothes that no longer fit your children.

2. School supplies

Buy fair trade products, recycled paper etc and look for products with minimal or, at least, recyclable packaging.  Can you upcycle something else into a pencil case?  Old jeans make excellent tough pencil cases like this one I found on Pinterest.  Could you make a sports bag or if your sewing skills fail you buy one from some-one who can sew.  And do you really need to buy everything new each new school year?

In France parents have to supply bucket loads of books and other supplies for their children and you will see shops full of stressed parents trying to get everything off the list as teachers are VERY particular about book sizes, line spacing etc.  However over the years I have realised you don't need everything they ask for and in many cases my boys are happy to reuse what they have from the year before.  So I won't be buying new push lead pencils this year despite them being on the list as the teachers never ask pupils to use them.  We are also busy emptying the plastic pockets used in primary school to re-use now in secondary. 

Can you cut down on school supplies and choose those with least packaging?

3. Getting to School

Can you walk?  If not you could park a few streets away and walk the last bit - parking will no doubt be easier, save you fuel and give you all some exercise, fresh air and quality time together.   Some schools also run walking bus schemes you may be able to join.

4.  School gardens and gardening/environmental clubs

Does your school have a nature or vegetable garden you can help maintain or a club you can help run?  If not why not speak to the head and set one up.  When I was in the UK I worked as a school grounds advisor and I cannot emphasise enough how important it is to help children learn things like where their food comes from and about the wildlife all around them.  If you need some ideas or inspiration have a look at the organisation Learning Through Landscapes - they also offer grants, resources, advise and training.  There are other organisations too that I will blog about shorty. 

5. Become an Eco-School

Is your school registered as an Eco-School?  Schools in the scheme get advice on green issues and through school pupil/parent/teacher committees and environmental reviews and audits can help the whole school community become more green.  There are awards too.

6.  Link up with a Third World School

All UK schools undoubtedly offer more to their pupils than many schools in some of the poorest regions of the world.  In many lessons are taught outside, without desks, electricity or even basic supplies and the children miss out on so much learning.  With a bit of financial help they could do so much more.  Does your school have any connections with a school in a third world country or could you help set a link up. 

7.  Join the PTA

If you become a member of your school's Parent/Teacher association you are in a much better position to lobby for green policies throughout the school.

Have you got any more green back to school tips?  Or perhaps you'd like to share what green things you and your children have been up to.

A Green and Rosie Life


  1. Hi Rosie, walking to school if possible and recycling last years stuff are both things I've encouraged over the years. My daughters school bag is now going into it's fifth year and she's more than happy with that, fingers crossed it'll last next year as well, as it's her last year.

    I had no idea that schools could link to third world schools to help out. That's a fantastic idea and hopefully one that makes our children realise just how privileged they are!


  2. Hi Rosie! I love the eco-school idea. Hopefully, here in the states they will institute more of these ideas soon!

  3. Love the jeans to pencil case idea. Brilliant!

  4. Although my children aren't in school anymore, I used to buy second hand uniform for them and swop pieces with other parents. i ran a gardening club when I was teaching here in Dubai to encourage and show the local children how some of their food is grown. As you may know I support education in South Africa and collect old school supplies from Private Schools to take into the townships #goinggreen

  5. Great idea, the shopping lists are absolutely crazy and a serious financial burden for many families so finding a way around this while being eco friendly is something that should really be promoted by schools/ teachers also... #goinggreen

  6. Glad to see I already put most of your tips into practice with my children. Thankfully theirs is a school without uniforms, we walk to school and back most days, we re-use their lunchboxes, bags and water bottles year on year, etc. In Ireland, Green Schools are the equivalent of Eco-Schools, and their school buys and covers their textbooks and most stationary too - it's so great not to have to worry about that!


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