It’s just a matter of days before the new school year begins, are you prepared? Many parents have already started shopping with the intent of buying the pure necessities like pens, paper, pencils and binders. On average, a family of school-aged children spends about $250 on school supplies and electronics each year. Do your part this year and look for more environmentally friendly and sustainable school supplies. Dolphin Blue offers a variety of Back-To-School supplies made with post-consumer recycled content and Made in the USA.
Here are 8 green tips for school
- Before you go supply shopping, go through all your old school supplies and sort out what you can still use and what you will need. It’s best to wait until after school starts to get your school supplies, teachers will usually give out a list of materials they will require your kids to have for their class.
- Reuse last years backpack. If it works then use it!
- If you are buying school supplies try to buy products that are made with post-consumer recycled content, ideally buy products that are made with 100% post-consumer recycled materials. Buy products that can be reused or refilled, like refillable pens.
- Walk to school. Streets surrounding schools usually become jammed packed with parents dropping of their kids, its better if you opt for walking or biking to school and if you’re good, why not skateboard to school? Walking is known to improve the academic performance of students; they arrive brighter and more alert to their morning class, it can also reduce stress and increase creativity!
- Take lunch. You’ll be able to monitor what they eat at school if you or they prepare and take their own lunch. Send your kids to school with reusable bottles of water instead of plastic water bottles. Also, use reusable containers or lunch bags for snacks and sandwiches.
- Teach your children to always recycle their paper at school.
- Use both sides of the paper when taking notes in class.
- Have your children cover up their textbooks with cut-up grocery or shopping bags to help keep their books in good condition. Many school reuse text books to save money and reduce waste so teach your kids to take good care of those books!
- There are approximately 133,000 K-12 schools in the United States.
- There are approximately 60 million students, faculty and staff in schools.
- For every 42 notebooks made with 100 percent recycled paper, one tree is saved.
- 30 percent of all waste generated comes from packaging. Many supplies can be reused or recycled such as pens and notebooks.
- American schools spend $6 billion each year on energy, more than what is spent on textbooks and
- About 50% of classrooms have poor indoor air quality computers combined.
- Green schools are built and designed with strategies and technologies that aim to improve the quality of indoor air, which could lead to improved student health, test scores and faculty retention.
- Each school lunch generates 67 pounds of waste per school year. That means, just one average-size middle school creates over 40,000 pounds of lunch waste a year.
Two weeks ago we did a blog post on how to green up your home and today I’m going to give you some tips on how to green up your personal office. A lot of the household green tips can transfer over to greening up your office as well.
One step at a time is always the best approach when changing what you typically purchase to something more environmentally friendly.
Usually purchasing greener products like ‘Energy Star’ products are a great way to save money and energy but if you’re not able to purchase new electronics, keeping your old ones is okay too. All you have to do is change some small habits, like if you leave your computer on at night in your office then shut it down.
1.) Power Strips
If possible buy a power strip, connect all your electronics in your office to the power strip and just switch it off when you are heading out for the day and switch it back on in the morning.
Buy a small recycling bin, if you don’t already have one, for your personal office and recycle everything that can be recycled!
In certain jobs I’s simply impossible to go completely paperless, especially if your job requires you to constantly print things out. What you can do is switch out what you typically purchase and buy post-consumer recycled paper, its way better for the environment!
Also opt for printing on both the front and back or using the non-printed side for notes, etc.
4.) Remanufactured Ink and Toner Cartridges
If you are in charge of purchasing office supplies, consider buying remanufactured ink and toner cartridges. All newly manufactured toner and ink cartridges require about 1 pint of oil for production, estimated that 900 million ink cartridges and 500 million toner cartridges are made each year, that’s a lot of oil!
Don’t forget to recycle your ink and toner cartridges! Dolphin Blue offers free pre-paid shipping labels for empty Inkjet & Toner Cartridges. We do not accept toner tubes or toner bottles.
Literally green up your office by putting plants on your desk or some place near you where you can see it. They can improve your air quality and increase your work productivity.
Check out this list of great indoor plants, although majority of them are rather big, you can probably find a smaller version of the plant at your local nursery.
- Peace Lily- Peace Lilies absorb benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, and more.
- Spider Plant- Absorbs benzene, formaldehyde, carbon monoxide and xylene.
- Golden Pothos- Indestructible and an effective indoor purifier in the world.
- English Ivy- Can remove allergens such as mold and animal feces.
- Areca Palm- The most effect indoor purifier and is an excellent air humidifier.
Snake Plant- Also known as mother-in-law’s tongue, is one of the best plants for filtering out formaldehyde.
- Chrysanthemum- This plants blooms help filter out benzene.
- Azalea- Remove formaldehyde from plywood or foam isolation.
- Dracaena- Eliminates formaldehyde, xylene, toluene, benzene and trichloroethylene.
- Chinese Evergreen- Filters out air pollutants and can begin to remove more toxins as time and exposure continues.
The Pilgrims may have traveled quite a distance to celebrate the first Thanksgiving, but their food didn’t. They learned to source their sustenance locally, a tough task in a new world, and they celebrated with a feast that eventually turned into modern-day Thanksgiving.
Getting food today doesn’t require nearly as much work for most of us as it did for those Pilgrims in the 1600′s, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t think about where it’s coming from.
Concerned about the way animals are treated? Try celebrating this year vegetarian-style. There are so many yummy meat-free foods at Thanksgiving, you may not even miss it. But if the big feast just won’t be the same without a bird on the table, look for pasture-raised, free-range turkey. This tells you that the animal lived outside, without harmful chemicals and hormones pumped into its body. Here are some other labels, classified by the World Society for the Protection of Animals, to look for when buying food:
A GOOD Start
“Cage free” (eggs)
“Free range” (eggs, chicken, goose, duck, turkey)
“Grass fed” (dairy, beef, lamb)
The “Good Start” labels indicate a meaningful animal welfare standard, but the standard covers only one aspect of animal care, and compliance with the standard is not verified by a third party.
“Free range” (beef, bison, pork, lamb)
“Pasture raised” (dairy, eggs, chicken, goose, duck, turkey, beef, bison, lamb, pork)
“USDA Organic” (dairy, eggs, chicken, goose, duck, turkey, beef, bison, lamb, pork)
The “Even Better” labels generally indicate a higher level of animal welfare because the standards are more meaningful than those for the “Good Start” labels, but the standards are either not verified by a third party or cover only a limited aspect of animal care.
The BEST Options
“Certified Humane” (dairy, eggs, chicken, turkey, beef, lamb, pork)
“American Humane Certified” (dairy, eggs, chicken, turkey, beef, lamb, pork)
“Animal Welfare Approved” (dairy, eggs, chicken, turkey, duck, goose, beef, lamb, pork, rabbit)
The “Best Options” labels cover multiple aspects of animal care, and compliance with the standards is verified by an independent third party.
To get your local store to carry products with these labels, just ask. Have your friends do the same, and the store will likely listen. You can download a request card to put in a store’s comment box or mail to its headquarters.
Decorate your table not with cheesy Thanksgiving-print napkins and paper plates but with pumpkins, gourds, apples, and all the other wonderful edible treats the fall season has to offer. If the thought of doing all those dishes makes you want to scrap the holiday altogether, try Preserve Tableware, an environmentally friendly alternative to the disposable stuff. The dishes and cutlery are made from 100 percent recycled plastic and are strong enough to be reused dozens of times (or just recycled when you’re done).
Top off the look with soy candles and a few sprigs of pine, and you’ll have authentic decor that would make even those who came over on the Mayflower proud.
When It’s Over
After the meal’s done and the leftovers picked through, compost the rest. Of the waste Americans send to landfills, 24 percent of it is organic waste (i.e., kitchen scraps). Keeping that waste out of landfills saves space and reduces greenhouse gas emissions, making it a win-win however you look at it. Making your own compost is easy!
Ralph Waldo Emerson was an American writer who lived during the 1800′s. He led a movement called Transcendentalism, a philosophy he wrote about in his published essay titled “Nature”. He wrote that the foundation of his philosophy is based on a deep appreciation of nature and he believed that we can only truly understand reality by studying our environment and spending time outside. Emerson thought that spending time alone in nature was the best way to come to truly understand and appreciate the beauty that the Earth brings.