Back to School: An ecofabulous Style Guide
This guide is presented by ecomom.
The end of summer is always bittersweet. It’s tough to say goodbye to family road trips, warm August nights and lazy mornings. Still, there’s something magical about the commencement of a new school year. As we pencil another cycle of growth onto the wall, it’s hard to believe how much the world of sustainability has matured. We used to have to struggle to find earth-friendly school supplies. Now there are so many products, our biggest conundrum is to narrow it down to the items that we like best. Buoyed by the challenge, we’ve scoured the market to bring you our hand-curated list of the best in healthy, sustainable style for our kids and the planet.
|Baby Got Backpacks:
These adorable eco-friendly backpacks from Mimi the Sardine are an adorable carrier for their lunch sacks. Made of organic cotton with a water-based acrylic-coating (read: NO PVC) to make for an easy after school wipe-down. All coated fabrics are Oeko-Tex 100 Standard ($38.95).
|For “Smarty” Style:
When kids get too cool for colorful patterns, upgrade to a backpack made of recycled material. GreenSmart bags (like the Kea style shown) are made of 100% recycled plastic bottles ($79.95).
|Better Than a Brown Bag:
Killer patterns and heavy duty organic canvas replace disposable lunch sacks and have way more personality. Parents will appreciate that there’s a spot to write in the child’s name to avoid cafeteria confusion ($26.95).
|The Right Bite:
Specially designed for small hands and mouths, this ‘Kids in the Kitchen’ bamboo cutlery set is a healthy, natural alternative to plastic utensils – and they can be reused again, and again ($16).
|Because Every Bag Matters:
Silk screened by hand using water-based inks (conventional plastisol inks contain PVC and phthalates) on 100% certified organic cotton, these reusable snack bags are covered with the cutest graphics depicting the contents within – there’s even a bag designated for the lunchtime “surprise” (deluxe set of 5, $38).
|Change is at Hand:
Every day over 3,000 tons of paper towel waste is produced in the U.S. alone. Take matters into your own hands (literally) and choose to reuse. PeopleTowels are made of fair trade, 100% organic cotton, silk screened with eco-friendly dyes, and are available in a variety of modern graphic styles ($8).
Vibrant reusable bottles made of food-grade stainless steel will have the whole classroom coveting your kid’s gear. Far cooler than plastic! Each bottle comes with a carabiner so when it’s not being used for hydration, it can remain firmly attached to a backpack ($16).
|Inside the Box:
Supplement those cute organic cotton baggies with items that will do more of the heavy lifting. The ECOlunchbox Three-In-One is free of leachy plastic (made of 100% food-grade stainless steel) and designed bento style so that each item has its own compartment (we wouldn’t want our cut fruit squishing into our PB&J, now would we?). Great for, ahem, big kids too ($22).
The “coolness” factor of your school supplies can make or break a kid pretty quickly. Thanks to these 100% post-consumer recycled notebooks, you can now adhere to your strict eco-standards, and they can retain their hip cred. Need something for show-and-tell? Check out the line of notebooks made out of banana paper ($2.99-$7.99)!
|Form, Function, and Fun:
Ecojot’s line of 100% recycled paper goods is as fashionable as it is practical. We love the brightly colored file folders for bringing a little fun to the process of organizing class papers($8.69 per set).
Don’t stifle the burgeoning artist within, embrace it! Made of recycled material (a mix of post-industrial and post-consumer) these eco-friendly binders are a great alternative to the conventional vinyl variety. And, they provide a blank canvas for decoration and collage! So cleaning up all those stacks of paper somehow just turned into an art project – way more appealing ($4.79).
|The Write Stuff:
Set little scholars up to be authors of the future. These environmentally preferable pencils contain 100% recycled content ($7.49 per box). For more permanent communication, check out the variety of eco-friendly pens on the market.
|Art for Art’s Sake:
When anything having to do with paint and art supplies involves sticky, colorful fingers and paint brushes in the mouth, it’s important to make sure your kid is stocked with the good stuff. For everything from modeling dough to paint, markers and soy crayons, we love Clementine Art Products ($5-12).
|Best Foot Forward:
With features like eco-certified suedes and organic cotton, Simple Shoe’s line of sweet kicks for kids will have your little one headed off to school with the right foot forward.