Back-to-School: How to get a gold star in going green

Business RecyclingNews

No sooner have the summer holidays begun, the back-to-school prep is once again top of the agenda. This means thinking about school uniforms, stationery, books…you name it, it’s on the list.


Meanwhile, your bank balance is starting to suffer, and so, in many cases, is the environment. But we didn’t want to give you even more to think about, so we’ve compiled our top tips for doing your back-to-school  prep in an eco-friendly way – and we’ll hopefully save you a few pennies in the process. Take a look and, who knows, maybe you’ll get one of those elusive gold stars for your efforts.

1. Stationery

With kids taking classes in everything from maths to art, the stationery shopping list can be pretty extensive. To cut it down, firstly try and recycle what you already have. Do a spot check of what’s left over from the last school year, what older siblings can pass down, and what you’ve already got in the house. Once you’ve done this, you’ll know where the gaps are and what still needs buying. These days, it’s easy to buy eco-friendly alternatives to your usual stationery items, especially online. Just check out this geometry set made from biodegradable corn starch, this pencil case made from recycled cotton, and our personal favourite, this Harry Potter inspired notebookmade from recycled board. With a quick Google search, you can discover all sorts of lovely looking stationery products that will keep your child happy, as well as the environment.

2. Books

Often, schools are already doing a wonderful job of reusing their textbooks and chosen literature year after year. So much so that we all have memories of racing to get the least scruffy version of Oliver Twist (or the one with the best notes in!). But, if you do need to buy books for your children, there’s no reason to buy new. Nip into your local charity shops and see if they’ve got a copy, or go online and find the books on Amazon, eBay, or one of the many second-hand book websites. Look, we’ve even found Oliver Twist for a mere £2.31! By going second-hand, you’re not only likely to save yourself a lot of money, but you’ll also help the environment.  Just remember, if you’re buying textbooks, to check you’ve got the right edition.

3. School uniforms

We all know how quickly children grow – and, before you know it, that lovely new blazer you bought them is too tight and needs replacing. But, rather than buy new every time they have a growth spurt, find out if your child’s school holds second-hand uniform sales. Chances are they do, and it will give you an opportunity to nab the right fitting uniform for a fraction of the price you pay in store. Alternatively, if you’re a dab hand at sewing, you could make the alterations yourself. If neither of those options suit you, and you do still want to buy new, make sure to opt for well-made, good quality items that will last, and remember to factor in those growth spurts.

4. Lunches and snacks

We’re not talking about what food and drink to give your kids, we know you’ve already got that covered. But we want to help you find eco-friendly ways to store that food and drink. So, first off, it’s time for a couple of investments. Start by buying your children their own reusable water bottles, like this animal-themed one from Not only is the bottle BPA-free, it’s also a great way of reducing plastic waste and helping the environment. Similarly, with lunchboxes, go for something reusable. This monster-themed lunch bag is insulated to help keep food fresh, and is made from recycled plastic bottles. A double win! Also, when packaging up your children’s food, be mindful of how much Clingfilm and foil you’re using and, where possible, replace with small containers that fit into the lunchbox.

We hope these back-to-school tips have been useful and help you get all the prep done in an eco-friendly way. If you have any questions about recycling, or want to find out more about what we do here at Printwaste, just give us a shout on 01242 588600 or


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