Tips: No Matter What Your School Colors, Make Sure Your Backpack is Green

As you make your "Back-to-School" list, you might want to check it twice, according to World Wildlife Fund (WWF). The organization offers tips on how you can make a positive impact on the environment by making sure the school supplies that make it into your child's backpack are as environmentally friendly as possible.

  • To get started, make a list of what you need. Make sure you don't already have them at home. Are there things you didn't use last year that could be called back into service this fall?
  • Look for backpacks, folders, notebooks and other school staples that are made of recycled and non-PVC materials. Some backpacks even have built-in solar panels to provide an eco-friendly power source to power your laptop.
  • The Forest Stewardship Council certifies wood and paper products grown in forests that are responsibly managed. Look for the FSC label on pencils and paper.
  • Purchase supplies with a minimal amount of packaging. Be mindful of what will end up in the garbage can.
  • Pack lunches in reusable lunchboxes or brown, unbleached, recycled paper bags.
  • Make lunches using local produce. Be aware of food that must travel long distances to get to your lunchbox and emissions necessary to get it there.
  • Look for laptops from companies that are working to reduce their global emissions and supporting environmental conservation. Turn your computer and monitor off when you aren't working.
  • Walk, bike or take public transportation to and from school and tell others what you're doing to help reduce global warming.

This article originally appeared in the 08/01/2007 issue of Environmental Protection.

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