In the frenzied weeks before kids go back to school, even the most well-intentioned of us can be prone to choosing convenience over sustainability. Consider these tips for a more climate-conscious start to the academic year.
Think before you shop
Before you get trigger happy with the next-day delivery button, seek out a second-hand uniform sale, find used textbooks online, or make use of local charity shops for lunch boxes and stationary. The tail end of summer can also be a great time to take stock of what you have in the house – both to figure out what can be handed down to younger siblings, and what can be dusted off and used again for another year.
Let the start of a new academic year prompt a switch-up to your morning routine. Consider a car-free alternative for the school run, like walking, cycling or public transport. If driving is unavoidable, you could see if carpooling with local families could be an option, or park a short distance away to build in a morning walk and avoid idling near school gates.
If you’re aiming to cut back on plastic and reduce food waste, packed lunches are an important place to look. Reusable waxed fabric is a great alternative to cling film, paper bags are useful for snacks, and a good reusable thermos will last years. Planning the week’s lunches in advance is also an impactful way to minimise wastage and food miles.
Upcycling is not just for furniture. If you’re willing to get nifty with a needle and thread, an old pair of jeans can become a new pencil case, and partly-used notebooks can be given a whole new lease of life. Involving the kids is a prime opportunity to get talking about sustainability – not to mention a great way to keep them occupied if you’re running low on activity ideas towards the end of the holidays…