Preparing for a Low-Waste School Year

As summer comes to an end, back-to-school shelves fill every store entrance. Although the return to school is still uncertain, many are preparing for a normal school year. The question is this: how eco-friendly is your child's backpack? You're doing everything you can to make a low-waste household and reduce your impact, back-to-school is the perfect opportunity to start educating your child(ren) on low-waste living. 

The normal school kit will feature a few notebooks, a handful (or bucket) of pencils and pens, sticky notes, an eraser, a water bottle, lunchbox, and of course the backpack. Most individuals will purchase brand-new kits every year for their children; not only is this expensive, it's extremely wasteful. 

1. Only Buy What You Need

The first step to a low-waste school year may seem straight forward but it is crucial: only buy what you really need. Unfilled notebooks can be used again, backpacks that still fit don't need to be replaced, find ways to reuse things over the years. Should they run out or break during the school-year, replace them then. 

2. Replace with Low-Waste Choices

Once items are no longer usable, replace them with eco-friendly and low-waste brands. We've listed our favourites below for two common items but if you have other ideas, leave a comment or share with us on Instagram or Facebook!

REI Backpack


This one is all about sourcing. Who are you giving your money to? How long will the bag last? What is it made out of? P.S. check out our Textile blog to learn more about eco-friendly textiles. 

REI - All brands sold by them meet the sustainable and ethical standards. A few of their bags are made out of 'green' materials. 

Patagonia - A popular brand that is also very eco-friendly. Perfect for school our weekend adventures, you'll be prepared for anything. 

Paravel - Made from recycled plastic, their bags can be stored in a small pouch when not in use. 


EcoJot - A Canadian company, EcoJot has won numerous forest friendly awards for their collection of stationary. Their notebooks are beautiful and fun while protecting our forests and giving back to communities. 

CIAK - Based out of Italy, this company uses post-consumer paper products and low-waste binding and leather. A classier take on the low-waste notebook. 

Calepino - This company, based in France, uses recycled paper and sustainable packaging and inks. Each notebook is hand composed to give a truly stunning and functional look.  

3. Digitize Where Possible

Finally, where possible, utilize technology. Reducing your paper use by purchasing a tablet or laptop can go a long way. This is applicable as well for your older children. Our personal favourite combination for note-takers (high-school or university children) is an iPad with an Apple Pencil and Paperlike screen protector. These products last for years and can be used for anything from reading to lecture notes to creative expression. 

There is an option for everyone,. Just remember the most important thing: conscious consumer choices will shape the future, so invest in the one you want to see become a reality. 

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