American-Made: Green Back-to-School Guide

5 years ago

Summer is drawing to an end and lists of supplies are arriving in mailboxes for dreaded back to school shopping. The conscious parent may be concerned about some of these back to school necessities. Choosing back to school supplies made in the US strengthens our economy, helps us protect our children from toxins and supports environmental regulations. I've waded through the options for these school essentials, finding the best of the green American-made options, as well as providing good and bad criteria to consider when shopping.

Image: Richard B. Levine/UPPA via ZUMA Press.





Good: Notebooks containing 100% post-consumer recycled paper.

Bad: Spiraled notebooks coated in plastic containing PVC.

Top Pick: Night Owl Paper Goods Journals

woody wagon journal made in USA

Night Owl Paper Goods Journals are made from sustainably harvested birch wood and 100% post-consumer recycled paper, are biodegradable and made in Alabama,  $8.50.




Good: Cardboard or fabric covered binders.

Bad: Vinyl or binders covered in soft plastic.

Top Pick: ReBinder Recycled Cardboard Binders


ReBinder Original Corrugated  Recycled Binder, 1.5 Inch  (RBCR-R15-EA)

ReBinder Reusable Binders are made from recycled corrugated cardboard with a replaceable cover for reuse and are made in USA, $6.49.

Lunch Boxes


Good: Cloth and metal lunch carriers or a small canvas bag.

Bad: Vinyl, plastic bags containing PVC or coated in PVC often contain lead.

Top Pick: Rebel Green Cotton Lunch Bags

Rebel Green Lunch Bag

Rebel Green lunch bags are made from 100% certified organic cotton, printed in eco-friendly inks in retro prints and made in USA, $23.95.

Water Bottles


Good: Unlined stainless steel bottles, aluminum bottles with BPA-free coating.

Bad: Clear plastic bottles, plastic bottles not stated to be BPA-free, aluminum bottles that do not state what they are coated with.

Top Pick: Liberty Water Bottles

Liberty Water Bottles, made from 100% recycled aluminum with BPA-free powder coating, are the only metal water bottle made in USA, $9.57.



Good: Cloth bags

Bad: Vinyl bags and shiny plastic-coated bags often contain PVC and lead.

Top Pick: Cinda B Junior backpacks

Junior Backpack
Junior Backpacks
are stylish, light-weight fabric bags with multiple compartments made in Indiana, $65.



Good: Natural wipes made from essential oils.

Bad: Alochol-based wipes and those containing Triclosan.

Top Pick: CleanWell To-Go Pack

Disinfectant Spray + Wipes To-Go Pack

Disinfectant Spray + Wipes To-Go Pack kills germs naturally with Thyme oil, made in USA, $7.99.


Other Good Places to Find Green Back to School Supplies Made in America:


Our Green House – backpacks, lunch bags and art supplies

Re-useit – reusable baggies, totes and water bottles

Shop to be Green – art and craft supplies

Mighty Nest – lunch bags, reusable baggies

ReBinder –  office and school supplies

Night Owl Paper Goods – notebooks, notepads, rulers, calendars


What criteria do you consider when choosing products for your children? Have you struggled to find the items on your child's back to school list that met your standards? What alternatives have you found to conventional school supplies?


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