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Weekly Tips | August 26, 2013

School Daze

Make the grade this fall and prep for Golden Rule days by maximizing available resources, and minimizing stress and waste!  Back-to-school savings can also mean eco-friendly practices, so pen a new approach and take note of what you have - you could ace the eco-exam before the first school bell rings! 

Consider these simple tips as you get ready for the new academic year.


Have your kids put on an informal fashion show to re-discover what clothes they already own, which still fit, and which need replacing. For clothes that no longer fit, don’t just toss them. Instead, try organizing a clothing swap event with friends to trade items or donate to a local thrift store such as Goodwill, St. Vincent De Paul, and Deseret Industries.

When looking for replacement items, any style, from hipster to hip hop, can be found at local second-hand and consignment stores. You can also look for clothing at local garage sales and on Craigslist. By giving second life to pre-worn clothes, you’ll both save money and reduce landfill waste.

School Supplies and Equipment: 

Before purchasing an all new set of gear, take inventory of the supplies you already have that are still useable. No need to purchase new binders or pens if the old ones are as good as new. If your child wants a new look for the new year, try updating with DIY art to put some flair back into last year’s backpack, binder, lunchbox or folders. Host a decorating party and let the kids work together to share ideas on how to spice up last years supplies. You can even create DIY back-to-school gear. If new supplies really are in order, purchase wisely and make sure what you buy is made of recycled materials and recyclable at the end of its life. Or use online marketplace resources like Swopboard while supporting your PTA at the same time!


Does your child pack a lunch from home? Invest in reusable lunch supplies such as a lunchbox, snack containers, utensils and a water bottle to eliminate the waste produced by disposable lunches. (The CleanScapes Store in Issaquah’s Gilman Village has a great selection.) Eat for success and reduce packaging waste by being green at home and school. 

Resources: | Goodwill | St. Vincent De Paul | Deseret Industries | Mother Nature Network | Craigslist |

The Big Picture

Every fall the ‘back to school’ shopping ritual entices students and their families into a retail adventure to buy the latest and greatest gadgets and fashion accessories. In August 2012 it was found that the total amount of money spent at clothing stores in the U.S. was 8.5 billion dollars.  

A 2011 survey sent out to families with children in grades K-12 is expected to spend about 600 dollars for back-to-school essentials, and for those in college will spend an upwards of 800 dollars. 

On average a child going to school will generate about 67 lbs. of waste per school year using a disposable lunch. Can you imagine what an entire school can generate? 

By purchasing gently used clothing, goods made with recycled materials and focusing new purchases on reusable items, you can save money, reduce waste and create demand for the sustainable marketplace.

Sources: Green Living Online | US Census 2013 | National Retail Federation



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