The beginning of the school year is such an exciting time. New teachers, new friends and opportunities for purchasing new items in preparation for the year ahead. But do you need to spend big at the beginning of the school year? Here a few ideas on how to start this year off with sustainability in mind.

School uniforms

Summer holidays are renowned for growth spurts! Which usually means a last minute dash to purchase new uniform items. Did you know that many schools have a second hand clothing pool? Purchasing a few new items can be bolstered by picking up some second hand ones too. If your school doesn’t have second hand items for sale, why not think about starting one? All you need is a couple of containers to hold the uniforms and a box to collect money!

Stationery items

Many schools have a list of stationery items to purchase at the beginning of the year. Some even make it extra convenient by having the items available for quick purchase from an office supplier. Whilst it is super easy to just blindly accept everything that’s on the list, my guess is that at least 30% of the items you already have at home. Take a moment to check the list and check your supplies before purchasing.
If you do need to purchase new items, think about the quality of the item and how long it will last. The longer it lasts, the more sustainable the item is. Bonus points if you choose items that are organic, eco-friendly or have alternative uses at the end of their useful life.


One of the most sustainable (and healthy) options you can make for your child is to pack their lunch in reusable lunch boxes. A good quality lunch box can be expensive, but when you consider how often they're used it's worth buying something that won't disintegrate after a month. Some people like stainless steel, we like the bento box style, it's totally up to you and your child. Think of how much plastic packaging and glad wrap you can save in a school year as motivation! Match with a great drink bottle and you're set! 

Make it yourself

What could you make out of materials that you already have? A cool pencil case from a plastic bottle or plastic bags. Consider covering books in pages from magazines or newspapers. If you’re feeling particularly crafty, create a collage! Get creative with pencil holders made from cardboard rolls or paddle pop sticks and decorate with items you have around the home.

People power

Do you really need to jump in the car to get to school? Consider swapping a few days with walking or riding a bike instead. Such a healthy way to start the day and the perfect opportunity to have a proper chat with your child on the way.

Sustainability is all about using our products in a way that is kind to our earth. I hope that I’ve given you some inspiration on a few ways to have a more sustainable start to the school year.

January 15, 2019 — Kiri Gorter

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