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This year, when shopping for back-to-school college essentials, encourage your college-bound son or daughter to choose green alternatives that are completely cool but kinder to the planet.

essentials for any college student

Post-it recycled notes

Green their reminders.

These can help any college kid keep track of classes, assignments and reminders to call Mom. They're essential for study notes, bookmarks and grocery lists, too. The best part: They're made of recycled -- and recyclable -- materials. Post-it® Recycled notes contain 100 percent total recycled content with 30 percent postconsumer recycled content. The notes are also SFI Chain of Custody Certified; their paper comes from well managed forests where the trees are replanted.

The college student's survival kit >>

Green their storage.

Storage space is a precious commodity, especially in a college dorm. Try a Really Useful Boxes recycled storage box, containing 95 percent postconsumer recycled content. They are stackable, transparent and great for all those binders, files and school supplies.

Dorm room essentials >>

Green their technology.

The Voltaic Solar Charging Backpack

The Voltaic Solar Charging Backpack has embedded waterproof solar panels that use high-efficiency mono-crystalline cells to charge devices fast. They produce 4 watts -- in other words, one hour in the sun will power three hours of iPod play time or 1.5 hours of cell phone talk time. And as if all that weren't enough, its fabric is made from recycled soda bottles.

Recycling do's and don'ts >>

Green their cleaning.

The Fresh Wave Stinky Dorm Kit contains 16 ounces of Fresh Wave Crystal Gel and 8 ounces of Fresh Wave Spray to eliminate lingering dorm room odors. Unlike air fresheners that use chemicals to mask odors, these use a formula of purified water and extracts of lime, pine needle, aniseed, clove and cedarwood to absorb and break down odors. So these products are green, biodegradable, non-aerosol, non-toxic -- and effective.

Clean your bathroom without chemicals >>

The Hybrid Mug/Eco SpoutGreen their beverages.

The Hybrid Mug/Eco Spout is a reusable, water-tight, stainless steel coffee cup and water bottle that keeps hot drinks hot and cold drinks cold. With 360-degree drinkability, there's no struggling to find "the spot." Free of BPA, it also includes a fine mesh filter for loose tea, plus a travel case.

Raising an eco-conscious generation >>

Green their computer skins.

The Yin Yang Webmaster computer skin protects that essential laptop with thick, recyclable plastic and looks cool doing it, with iconic, glow-in-the-dark designs.

How to recycle household electronics >>

More back-to-school shopping tips:

Tags: green school supplies

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