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Go Green This School Year – Thinking Outside the School Box

By Jen Aiken, CoreShark H20

Alas, it’s back-to-school supply shopping time! Before you head out or hop online to shop, why not commit to making this school year a little bit GREENER than last year? As parents, we always want the very best for our children, right? Well, shouldn’t that mean also doing our part to protect the planet so our children have a healthy future? Of course, it does, and this article is going to share tips with you to do just that. The first step is to REUSE what you already have from last year. Dig into those drawers and see what you already have on hand. Is that pencil box, highlighter or backpack still in working condition? Great – REUSE them! From there, start with the basics and be on the lookout for recycled and Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified paper products. Purchase pencils that aren’t made from old-growth forests. Check out these pencils made from recycled newspapers! How cool! One area where you can really show Mother Earth some love is around packing school lunches. Did you know that the average American family uses 500 small single-use plastic bags a year? That’s almost 60 million for the entire U.S. each year. We all are aware of the devastating impact that plastic bags have on wildlife and the environment. So why not make this year THE YEAR to make the trendy switch to fun reusable lunch, snack, and sandwich bags? Not only are they better for the planet, but they are also better for our children too; and we want the very best for them, right? It has been proven that single-use plastic bags and containers leach chemicals into the food they are holding. These chemicals are known as endocrine disruptors, which have been linked to health effects including cancers, birth defects, and immune system suppression in humans and wildlife. Not only is single-use plastic harmful to humans and wildlife, but plastic is made from fossil fuels. The process involved to make them contributes to greenhouse gas emissions which play a part in climate change. Just more reasons to refuse, reduce and reuse.

Another thing you can do is to talk with other parents in your community and organize a school supply swap. Maybe one family has a lot of extra glue sticks and another has a few extra notebooks. Any opportunity to avoid buying new items is better for the Earth AND your wallet! Go GREEN to save some GREEN…cha-ching!! $$$ Are you feeling invigorated to do your part now? YES!!! We hope so. Let’s dive into this school year with the health of the planet and our children at the forefront. Here are a few links to help with your GREEN shopping: Best Selling Back- to-School Products from EARTH HERO Sustainable School Supplies from the Ultimate Green Store Ethical and Eco-Friendly School Supplies Best Reusable Lunch Containers If your head is spinning, you’re not alone. It can be overwhelming, but there are alternatives. By making small changes, collectively we can all make a BIG difference. Talk with your children about GREENING over their school supplies and why. I promise you that they’ll be on board as our children are the future of this planet.

About CoreShark H20 CoreShark H2O creates and offers hands-on environmental educational programs and experiences for the community and classroom that are designed to inspire a passion for Maryland’s waterways, to expand exposure and knowledge, and to enhance environmental stewardship. Our programs include CSH2O’s unique Oyster & Environmental Education lessons, partnerships with other like-minded organizations, field trips, scholarships, internships, and support of community events.



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