Monday, June 15, 2009

Greening the end of school

It's the last week of school. I cannot wait for the boys to be done school so we can slow down our pace and have fun. We've all earned it.

As the kids come home with backpacks full of stuff, here are some ideas for greening the end of school.
  • Go through everything that the kids bring home and see what can be saved for next year. Each year, we get a supply list and not all of those supplies are consumable. Some things you may be able to save for next year are scissors, calculators, rulers, highlighters or binders. When your kids bring these things home, put them aside to be used again next year so you don't have to buy them again.
  • After you look through the tons of papers that come home, make sure the ones you aren't keeping end up in the recycle bin. Or, if the backs of the papers are still good, use them for scrap paper or in your computer printer.
  • Take a good look at their lunch boxes, thermoses, drink containers, etc. Can you get another year out of them? Clean them up, perhaps sprinkle them with a bit of baking soda and set out in the sun for a bit, then put them away for next year.
  • Inspect backpacks. They can be reused next year, too, if they are in good condition. 
  • This would be a good time to go through your kids' books, too. Their reading levels have gone up over the year, and some purging might be in order. Give away to younger friends or relatives (or donate) books that your kids have moved beyond. Make sure there are enough books at their reading level to have on hand for the summer. Visit the library for appropriate books or see my post on greening your summer reading list for ideas on how to stock your home library with less of an environmental impact.
One last thing. If you find that things like backpacks and lunch boxes are still in good condition, but your children are no longer interested in the super heroes or tween stars on them, help them to make a better choice with their next purchases. If you're going to allow them to get new ones, donate the still good ones, and then help them to choose ones that won't go out of style so they can use them until they wear out, not until they're out of style.

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