Eco-Friendly School Supplies: A Green Back-To-School Guide

sustainable school supplies

It’s that time of year when parents eagerly await class supply lists and try to figure out what their children will need to start the school year strong.

In years past, like many of us, I found myself purchasing brand-new coloring utensils, backpacks, lunch boxes, and other products that we already had on hand or could have obtained more sustainably.

This year, I wanted to find environmentally responsible or more sustainable brands of school supplies to bring my kids back to school with!

Society and the mainstream media put pressure on us to have our children dress and have certain things in order for them to succeed.

What if I told you there’s a way to give your kids everything they need to achieve while also enjoying an eco-friendly lifestyle? And in a way that is consistent with your long-term values!

I’m delighted to delve into the topic of sustainable school supplies as we begin the school year!

Sustainable Back-to-School Shopping

Governor's school supply drive kicks off across NC | WNCT

This article will lead you through some simple modifications you may make to your back-to-school routine.

These changes will contribute to your child’s school experience being more sustainable and organic. This is good for both your child’s health and the environment!

Fortunately, eco-friendly school supplies are now quite easy to find! And, because every year my eyes glaze over when I see the school supplies buying list, I want to make it simple for you.

Here are my top 20 sustainable school supplies and eco-friendly office supplies for your convenience!

Sustainable School Supplies

school sustainably

Although sending your child with a brown sack lunch may seem handy, all those paper bags pile up.

According to the EPA, a child who brings a brown bag lunch to school every day generates around 67 pounds of waste per school year.

Multiply that by the 58 million pupils in the United States. With a few changes to our school morning routines, we could keep tons of garbage out of the landfill.

First, let us replace the paper bag with a plastic free or a reusable bag!

It is not only environmentally friendly, but it is also beneficial to their health.

Plastic lunch boxes and containers may contain a variety of hazardous substances, including lead, phthalates, vinyl (PVC), and bisphenol-A (BPA).

Here is a list of some eco-friendly products that you can to your back-to-school supplies.

Customized Tote Bag

sustainable school ditty bag

Many schools use paper bags for various purposes, such as food containers or holding craft supplies. Customized tote bags can serve as a durable and reusable alternative to paper bags, reducing the consumption of paper products.

Reusable Bags or Customized Backpacks

sustainable school supplies

Customized backpacks made from organic cotton and sustainable fabric can contribute to reducing waste in several ways.

One is, that when backpacks are customized, they can be designed to fit the user’s needs precisely.

This can lead to more efficient use of materials, as the backpack is tailored to carry the items intended by the user. This reduces the likelihood of excess material being used, thereby minimizing waste.

Water Containers or Eco-Friendly Tumblers

plastic free

Using eco-friendly tumblers for school is a great way to reduce single-use plastic waste and promote sustainability.

Stainless steel tumblers are durable, long-lasting, and can keep your beverages hot or cold for hours. They are also easy to clean and are a popular choice for eco-conscious individuals.

Recycled and Eco-Friendly Notebooks

kraft paper

You can look for recycled school supplies like notebooks and paper products made from recycled materials or sustainably sourced paper.

These recycled paper products help conserve forests and minimize the environmental impact of paper production.

Eco-Friendly Writing Tools

Professional recycled pens made with recycled plastic bottles

You can choose eco-friendly pens made from recycled plastic, recycled water bottles, sustainable pencils, and markers made from sustainable materials like bamboo, recycled plastic, or bioplastics. These alternative writing tools are often refillable and generate less plastic waste.

Zero-Waste Kits

Full Color 3ply Premium Beverage Napkins

Put together a zero-waste kit that includes reusable cutlery, a cloth napkin, a reusable straw, and a small container for leftovers. This way, you can avoid single-use plastics when eating on campus.

By incorporating these sustainable must-haves into your back-to-school routine, you’ll not only reduce your ecological footprint but also inspire others to make environmentally conscious choices.

Remember, every small step towards sustainability contributes to a greener future.

Why Purchase Eco-Friendly School Supplies?

kraft paper backpacks

Paper accounts for at least 40% of the average school waste stream. In fact, paper accounts for the lion’s share of all school trash.

Think about these facts:

  • Every year, around 900 million trees are felled to provide raw materials for US paper manufacturers.
  • A ton of recycled paper can help save 17 trees, 380 liters of gasoline, and 7,000 gallons of water.
  • The energy required to recycle paper is 70% less than that required to manufacture paper from wood.
  • Glass and plastic drinking containers account for around 15% of all garbage generated by schools.
  • Recycling only one glass bottle saves enough energy to operate a 100-watt light bulb for up to four hours.

If you buy recyclable, reusable, compostable, or eco-friendly school supplies, you will not be contributing to the school waste problem but rather helping against it.

The Impact of Zero Waste School Supplies

eco pen club

In an era where environmental consciousness is gaining momentum, individuals, businesses, and even schools are making efforts to reduce their own carbon emissions footprint.

One impactful way to contribute to this movement is by adopting zero waste practices, even in something as seemingly mundane as school supplies.

By making thoughtful choices and embracing eco-friendly alternatives, we can transform our classrooms into hubs of sustainability.

When you think about how many trees are taken down to manufacture paper products, sustainable stationery may appear to be a tall ambition.

Americans utilize 68 million trees every year for paper, resulting in significant deforestation, habitat destruction, and climate impact.

The good news is that many wonderful firms offer environmentally friendly paper and other school supplies.

Zero-waste school supplies involve making conscious choices that minimize the generation of waste throughout the academic year.

This means opting for items that are reusable, recyclable, or biodegradable, and reducing reliance on single-use products that end up in landfills or contribute to pollution.

By focusing on sustainability, we can teach the next generation the importance of caring for the planet and making mindful decisions.

By adopting zero-waste school supplies, both educators and students contribute to a healthier planet. These practices foster a sense of responsibility, mindfulness, and stewardship of the environment.

Moreover, embracing sustainability within educational institutions sets a powerful example for the community, inspiring positive change beyond the school walls.

In conclusion, the shift towards zero waste school supplies embodies the spirit of progress and conscious consumption.

By making small adjustments to our choices, we can collectively create a big impact. Let’s empower the younger generation with the tools and mindset they need to create a sustainable future, one classroom at a time.

Guide and Tips for Going Eco-Friendly on Your School Supplies

recycled construction debris

From reusable water bottles to energy-efficient light bulbs, individuals are making conscious choices to reduce their ecological footprint.

This mindset extends to students as well, as they head back to school armed with eco-friendly intentions.

One impactful way to contribute to a greener future eco kids is by opting for eco-friendly school supplies.

Here are various tips and suggestions to help you make the switch from natural materials to sustainable supplies without compromising on quality or style.

Pencils and Pens: Choosing Wisely

plastic free pens

When it comes to pencil cases and writing instruments, consider switching to mechanical pencils instead of traditional wooden ones.

Mechanical pencils generate less waste, as they don’t require constant sharpening. Additionally, opt for pens that are made from recycled materials or are refillable.

This way, you can reduce the amount of plastic waste produced by disposable pens.

Backpacks and Bags: Durable and Sustainable

eco friendly backpack

Invest in a high-quality, eco-friendly backpack made from sustainable materials like organic or recycled cotton,, hemp, or recycled fabrics.

These durable options ensure that your backpack lasts longer, reducing the need for frequent replacements.

Notebooks and Paper: Recycled and Reimagined

Hardcover Notebook And Pen Set

Instead of grabbing conventional notebooks, look for options made from recycled paper. These recycled paper notebooks are readily available and often come with creative designs that inspire eco-consciousness.

Additionally, some may consider using digital platforms for note-taking whenever possible to reduce paper consumption.

Water Bottles: Hydration, Sustainably

24 Oz Translucent Sports Water Bottles

Plastic water bottles are a significant source of pollution. Invest in a high-quality reusable water bottle made from stainless steel or glass.

These options not only reduce plastic waste but also keep your drinks at the desired temperature for longer periods.

Lunchboxe and Food Container: Waste-Free Lunches

lunch boxes

Packing a waste-free lunch is not only eco-friendly but also healthier. Choose lunchboxes and food containers made from stainless steel, glass, or BPA-free recycled plastics only.

Avoid single-use plastic bags and instead opt for reusable silicone bags or beeswax wraps to keep your sandwiches fresh.

Art Supplies: Creativity with a Conscience

art class

For those artistic endeavors, explore eco-friendly art supplies made from non-toxic and renewable energy and materials.

Water-based paints, vegan soy wax-based crayons, and recycled paper sketchbooks are fantastic choices that help minimize harm to the environment.

Binders and Folders: The Organized Green Way

paper products

When selecting binders and folders, look for those made from recycled materials. Many eco-friendly options are available, and they function just as well as conventional ones.

Remember to repurpose or recycle old binders and folders instead of throwing them away.

Calculators and Electronics: Energy Efficiency Matters

office supplies

When it’s time to purchase electronic gadgets like calculators or tablets, opt for Energy Star-rated products. These devices are designed to be energy-efficient and reduce electricity consumption over their lifespan.

Repurpose and Upcycle: Extend Usability

eco kids

Before discarding old school supplies, think about how they could be repurposed or upcycled. Old notebooks can become scrap paper, recycled newspapers and worn-out backpacks can be transformed into stylish tote bags.

Buy in Bulk: Minimize Packaging Waste

creative play

Consider buying school supplies in bulk when possible. This reduces the overall packaging waste and often comes with cost savings. Just be sure to store items properly to avoid waste over time.

By making informed choices and adopting these eco-friendly school supply tips, you’ll contribute to a more sustainable future while setting an inspiring example for others.

Remember, every small action adds up to make a significant impact. So, gear up for a greener school year ahead!

Final Thoughts

back to school

The most environmentally friendly option, as with all things, is the one you already have.

Before you go out and acquire new things, make a list of what you already have. I’m sure you’ll find many of the goods listed above.

If you can’t locate what you’re looking for while shopping, ask! It’s an excellent opportunity to let store owners know that you value sustainable choices.

Many universities provide possibilities for used books and textbooks. Make the most of it! Another excellent suggestion.

Consider apps such as Good Notes and Notability. These function as a notebook for your tablet, removing the need for paper and pens.

They let you organize your notes and send PDFs. There is a cost, but you will save money in the long term.

Be Eco-Friendly with Imprint!

sustainable school supplies

When it comes to education, choosing sustainable school supplies not only instills valuable lessons but also leaves a positive imprint on the planet.

One such impactful choice is opting for eco-friendly school supplies that not only cater to academic needs but also contribute to a greener future.

Embrace eco-friendly school supplies today with Imprint!


Eco-friendly School Supplies | Education World.

Paonita, Jocelyn. “Eco-Friendly School Supplies for Zero Waste School Year.” The Scholarship System, July 2022,

“Safer School Supplies: Shopping Guide.” PIRG, 16 Aug. 2022,

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