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Green back-to-school tips for every age

Michelle Maffei is a freelance copywriter covering a variety of topics both online and in print, from parenting to beauty and more. Combining her two favorite loves, writing and motherhood, she has found joy in even the most challenging ...

Eco-friendly steps kids can take

When heading back to school, teaching your little learners to be eco-friendly kids is a snap with the right green family tips. From turning off lights in the classroom to riding your bike or walking to school, discover green back-to-school tips for every age.
Raising eco-conscious kids
Kids walking to school

Focus on kid-friendly green family tips

The message that the planet may be in peril is a big pill to swallow, especially when you're a kid. When trying to get your youngsters interested in becoming eco-friendly kids when heading back to the classroom, keep the lesson both simple and relatable. "Too often environmental education is all 'doom and gloom' — melting ice caps, disappearing honey bees, dying polar bears — but this only works to scare kids, not inspire or motivate them to make a difference," shares Albe Zakes, global vice president, media relations for TerraCycle, Inc. "Instead, making environmental responsibility fun, engaging, interactive — even a 'game' — is a far more effective way to get kids interested and motivated to do their part."

Engage kids with results they can see

According to treehugger.com, each student generates 240 pounds of waste and 18,760 pounds of lunch waste each year. But, how do you translate that into something tangible kids can understand? "Kids like to be able to see the impact of their actions," says Zakes. "Like all humans, they have relatively short attention spans and memories. Cleaning up a local water way or park allows them to take personal pride in the outcome, even doing a DIY or art project with recycled materials allows them to show off their work to family or friends. This personal connection will help drive more responsible behavior in the future."

Check out 6 tips for getting your household ready for back-to-school time >>

Discover green back-to-school tips kids can do themselves

  1. Turn off lights and electronics in the classroom when not in use; "Schools across the country are saving energy thanks to student participation," said Alliance to Save Energy Spokesperson Allyson Schmutter. "Alliance to Save Energy PowerSave Schools save between 5-15% on electricity costs, and that couldn't happen without the leadership from enthusiastic, committed and empowered students who learn the obvious benefits of saving energy"
  2. Take good care of your backpack, folders and other school supplies to help them last longer as well as save you money
  3. Use pens and pencils until they are unusable
  4. Recycle items in the classroom like empty glue bottles, crayon boxes, tissue boxes and more as suggested by Ryan Elizabeth Draughon, age 10, on her green living website www.earth-is-healthy.com
  5. Use every blank page in your notebook before buying more
  6. Pick back-to-school products that are made with recycled content or made from sustainable harvested wood
  7. Pick up a backpack made of green materials such as organic cotton or hemp or one made of recycled materials like TerraCycle's school products
  8. Help organize a recycling program at your school if it doesn't have one already
  9. Stick with reusable lunch boxes and utensils and avoid individually packaged foods
  10. Walk or ride your bike or scooter to school

Sad to see summer end? Here are 7 ways to get your child excited to go back to school >>

While green back-to-school tips for every age can inspire kids to give back to Mother Earth, you can encourage children to become eco-friendly kids by setting a good example. Join in on their environmental efforts and become a green family, seeking out tips on how to incorporate sustainable living into your household and help kids of any grade level know that they, too, can make a difference, even when going back to school.

Get more green back-to-school tips

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