School is starting again soon, and that means if you have school-aged children you probably need to do some back-to-school shopping. If you’ve been meaning to start taking action and introducing some new green and healthy practices to your family, this is the perfect opportunity. So before you head out, be sure you read this post to get my top 3 tips on how to green your back-to-school shopping.
#1 Litterless Lunch and Snacks
Let’s start with what your kids will be putting into their tummies when they are at school, and the packaging that food/beverage comes in. With our busy schedules, it’s easy to fall into the habit of giving our kids processed foods. Throwing in a bag of crackers into their lunch bag only takes a few seconds after all. However, by giving your kids fresh, whole foods instead of processed foods, you will make an enormous impact on their health. And instead of juice (even juice made from 100% fruit as it still has a lot of sugar), give them water. It will significantly reduce their sugar load.
Tip: To avoid or minimize the amount of complaining or resistance you might get from your kids initially, involve them as much in the food prepping process as you can. Make sure you also have a discussion with them about why you are making this change. If they have a hand in choosing and prepping what goes into their lunch box and they understand why the change is happening, the more likely they will get on board.
Next, instead of disposable containers such as tetra paks, plastic bottles, and plastic bags, choose reusable containers. My recommendation is to skip plastics altogether, as plastic leaches harmful chemicals into our foods and beverages. Instead, use stainless steel containers and bottles, or snack bags made from machine-washable fabric. Glass containers are also good options, but of course they are a lot more breakable.
#2 Pre-Loved Clothing and Accessories
We all know that kids can grow like weeds. But it doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune buying a whole new wardrobe when school time comes. A very affordable and eco-friendly option is to purchase pre-loved clothing. Nowadays, there are lots of ways to get your hands on pre-loved clothing that is in excellent condition – you can go to a consignment store or thrift store, or shop on Craigslist or on Facebook where lots of buy and sell groups have been set up. There are also often kids swap meets (check out this website for swap meets in Metro Vancouver), which are flea markets for children’s items. You can even set up a clothing swap with some friends! And of course, it doesn’t have to stop at clothing. You can easily get gently used backpacks, shoes, other accessories, and school supplies!
#3 Active Travel
I’ve talked a lot about the benefits of active travel in other posts, particularly amongst children. This is because active travel such as walking, cycling, rollerblading, skateboarding, and taking public transit improves our physical, emotional, and mental health. This is particularly important for growing bodies and minds. Active travel also builds up children’s confidence, independence, and street-smarts. And of course it also reduces their eco-footprint. Plus, with fewer children being driven to and from school, we have less traffic congestion and safer streets!
So instead of driving your kids to shop for back-to-school items, consider walking, biking, or taking transit. If your kids are used to being driven to school, this will give them an opportunity to get used to getting around using healthier travel modes.
Do you have other tips on how to green your back-to-school shopping? Share them with us below in the comments section!