The school year is just around the corner, which means many of us have a school supplies list to fulfill. In an economy full of wasteful products, one has to make a conscious decision to find sustainable products. Well, this post has made it a bit easier! Here’s our guide to eco-friendly school supplies to fulfill those lists in a better way for the environment!
Starting to see school supplies on the front shelves in stores?! Yup, it may still be the middle of summer, but back to school supplies have hit the shelves. All the supplies on the shelving might make you cringe when you see all the plastic and not so environmentally friendly items. So why not try to start the school year better with school supplies that works and is eco-friendly!
Okay, firstly, I only have a toddler right now, so we haven’t had a massive school supply run yet. However, when he was in daycare, we did have to provide crayons, glue, paper and other crafting supplies for them every few months. So a smaller scale, but basically school supplies! Also, we just do a lot of eco-friendly crafting at home anyways, so we need supplies!
So if you’re looking for a more eco-friendly approach to school supplies, office supplies or crafting supplies, think about the following.
Strategies For Low Waste and Eco-friendly School Supplies
- Use What You Already Have – Dig through some drawers for pens and pencils, find those mostly blank notebooks, and put those crayons back in a box. School supplies don’t need to be new, just functional. I don’t even have a “school aged” kid yet, and I have a ton of “school supplies” around my house.
- Shop Secondhand – Graphing calculators, books and even tablets are some of the typical school supplies that are just as great secondhand. eBay is a great place to find some good secondhand supplies online! Just remember to select pre-owned or look for listings calling out “misprints” as those could be landfill bound otherwise.
- Shop At A Eco-friendly Online Store – If you don’t already own it or can’t find it secondhand, then be an eco-conscious consumer and shop at an eco-friendly online store marketplace like EarthHero or Zero Waste Store.
- Know Your Brands – If you plan on shopping in person, then it helps to know what brands to look for. Some of the eco-friendly brands below actually carry supplies in stores like Target. If you plan to shop on Amazon, then the same thing applies. Choosing eco-friendly supplies even at not as sustainable stores still helps cast a vote toward what you value as a consumer, and that’s eco-friendly supplies.
Like I mentioned before, school supplies are actually crafting or office supplies, too. So if you’re in need of either eco-friendly office supplies or crafting supplies, then the following guide is for you too!
Now, check out this eco-friendly school supplies guide to prepare for this next school year.
Resource List for Eco-friendly School Supplies
Use code BIGLIV10 for 10% off any of your EarthHero orders! And check out all their school supplies.
Best Eco-friendly School Supplies & Brands
Eco Supplies Categories: glue, scissors, pens, colored pencils, notebooks, math tools & more
Onyx and Green has so many options from plant-based glue sticks, colored pencils, pens, staplers, recycled paper notebooks, and even recycled plastic scissors. While we haven’t needed them yet, Onyx and Green even has wooden math tools like protractors and rulers! You can get most Onyx and Green supplies online from EarthHero or Amazon.
As for office supplies, I’m also totally eyeing their bamboo wireless mouse the next time we need a new one!
Eco Supplies Categories: pencils, colored pencils
Looking for sustainable pencils and colored pencils? Sprout has both made from sustainable PEFC-FSC wood and natural clay or graphite cores. Although, the fun part is definitely the other end that’s capped with a biodegradable seed capsule instead of an eraser!
When you’re done with the pencil, just follow Sprout’s planting guide and stick it into the soil. It’s a great way to show a child some basic gardening in a pot! Pencil packages come with seeds ranging from herbs to flowers and even trees.
My mom actually found these pencils and gave them to me forever ago now. It’s such a fun concept and they work well. Also, I just found out they now have an eyeliner product with wildflower seeds that I definitely need to try!
Eco Supplies Categories: notebooks, lined paper
Decomposition has some beautiful eco-friendly notebooks to fulfill the need for a new notebook without cutting down virgin tree material.
Their paper is 100% post-consumer waste recycled paper eliminating harvesting virgin materials from trees. Also, the beautiful art on the notebook covers are printed with soy-based inks, which is a more environmentally friendly option over petroleum-based inks. Also, it’s USA-made.
There’s a variety of full-sized ruled spiral notebooks to pocket sized notebooks. Decomposition even has a college ruled paper pack to fill any of those binders for your older kids.
These notebooks are also a great eco-friendly option for home or office supplies for all you note-takers and list-makers out there who prefer pencil and paper.
Eco Supplies Categories: printer paper, cardstock, photo paper, labels
While it may or may not be on the back to school supplies list, printer paper is likely used at home for printing necessary school work. Printworks has recycled copy paper that’s 100% recycled post-consumer waste and FSC-certified. It’s also a paper product that’s collected and made entirely within the United States, so it helps to keep the carbon emissions down instead of shipping from abroad.
There’s also cardstock, labels, and photo paper available. Although, not all the Printworks supplies are eco-friendly or made from recycled paper, so make sure to read the descriptions.
Eco Supplies Categories: tissues
I remember when I was in school, we always had to supply like five boxes of tissues. While we use cloth tissues at home, you can’t really send those to school for everyone to use. So try out a Grove Co.’s bamboo tissues. They are tree-free tissues made from FSC-certified bamboo in recyclable packaging.
Grove Co. has a lot of more home type products rather than back to school supplies. But it’s a great resource for tissues and not sending virgin tree tissues to school.
Eco Supplies Categories: backpacks, pencil pouches, laptop sleeves, duffel bags
Now, we can’t forget the bags in which all the eco-friendly school supplies live in! Terra Thread has all types of bags made from organic cotton and not fossil fuel-based polyester or nylon. The certified B corp. is focused on being carbon neutral, Fairtrade certified and giving back.
With every item sold, Terra Thread donates meals to underprivileged children and families through Feeding America. So not only a great eco-friendly option, but it also helps others.
Eco Supplies Categories: used tech like tablets, laptops, headphones and more.
Older students almost always require some kind of technology for school today, including laptops and tablets. But that kind of tech can be expensive when brand new. BackMarket is an online marketplace for used electronics where you can find almost any brand or type of electronics you desire (MAC versus Windows, no problem). Their products have a 30 day money back guarantee and a one year warranty.
By purchasing a used or refurbished electronic, it helps to reduce electronic waste by extending the life of the product. It’s like secondhand clothes or thrifting, but way better for your budget.
The laptop I use for work is a refurbished laptop that works great and for significantly less cost!
Eco Supplies Categories: lunch boxes, travel utensils
It’s possibly time for a new lunchbox, so why not opt for a plastic-free, zero waste product for your kids? ECOLunchbox has a large collection of stainless steel containers and a few cotton bags that are perfect for packing school lunches. Best part is the containers are dishwasher and freezer safe. Just remember it’s not necessarily something you want to microwave directly.
These are also a great plastic-free option for adults, too. I’ve always had a love for bento boxes, so their 3-1 classic or giant stackable steel lunch boxes are perfect! Instead of taking three or four different plastic containers or bags, it can all go nicely into these containers.
Eco Supplies Categories: food bags and pouches
If you’re going to be packing a kid’s lunch, then switch to reusable items instead of disposable baggies and pre-packaged snacks. There are a ton of reusable bags out there in varying sizes and either silicone or fabric. And now there’s a ton of options with fun designs and patterns for any child (or adult!).
Here are a few fun options for kids:
Hope this roundup of eco-friendly school supplies helps you be a more eco-conscious shopper when it comes to back to school time! Let us know what you think and any suggestions in the comments below!
Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links, and I will earn a commission if you purchase through these links. Please note that I’ve linked to these products purely because I recommend them and they are from companies I trust. There is no additional cost to you.