Get Green As You Go Back to School

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
DEC Delivers - Information to keep you connected and informed from the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation
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Get Green As You Go Back to School

It's easy to help the environment and be more sustainable as you go back to school.

Buying School Supplies

  • Reuse school items left over from last year; backpacks, scissors, pencils, binders, crayons, markers, etc.
  • Look for products that aren't sold with a lot of packaging, and try to think of ways to either reuse the packaging that comes with what you buy, or recycle the materials if possible.
  • Look for post-consumer recycled content when buying paper, binders, pens and pencils.
  • Buy non-toxic alternatives - look for non-toxic pens, markers, art supplies and other school supplies.
  • Use rechargeable batteries in your electronics.

Preparing School Lunches

  • Think "reusable" when packing lunches - use reusable lunch boxes or canvas bags, sandwich containers and utensils.
  • For water or other drinks, bring a reusable stainless steel bottle or bisphenol A-free (BPA-free) bottle instead of single-use beverage containers.
  • A nutritious school lunch doesn't have to involve lots of throw-away packaging. Look for bulk food items instead of those that are packaged as single servings.

Greening Your School Day

  • Encourage your school to institute a good recycling program or expand their existing program, as well as compost its cafeteria food scraps and yard waste.
  • Use both sides of paper when possible.
  • Take the bus, carpool, bike or walk to school if possible.

Learn more about waste reduction, reuse, recycling and composting.