School's back in session. Can we get a "Woot Woot!?"
Parents everywhere can toast to that!
Summertime is great, isn’t it?
But, after ten weeks of quality time with the kiddos, playing event coordinator and camp counselor, we’re pretty certain we can all agree… the first day back to school is a fabulous moment every year.
It's the big reward of our undivided attention for ten long weeks, when parents can take a deep breath, get a little "me time" back into the schedule, and put routine back into daily life.
Cheers to the first day of school!
The final few weeks of summer is abuzz with buying and organizing school supplies, uniforms or school clothes and shoes, required books and equipment, and all that other stuff. Cramming in school haircuts, school check-ups, after-school schedule planning. It’s exhausting, right!?
The first day of school comes and it’s exciting, terrifying, and oh so very rewarding.
Time for a glass of midday rose to toast to YOU for getting through it all! Congrats, parents!
Once the dust has settled, and you've recovered from the whirlwind, and you've sipped your celebratory bubbly in your HaloVino shatterproof tumbler, time to bring the kids' school & lunch supplies up to your level of coolness with reusable, environmentally friendly gear.
Time to go next level with being your amazing mindful-mom self.
Here are 10 ways to help your kids get fresh and be green this school year.
Reusable water bottles
These days, many students take reusable, insulated water bottles to school. Beyond the obvious fact that single use plastic water bottles are wasteful and bad for the environment, insulated water bottles offer a number of benefits.
- They keep water colder longer, and hold more volume than a regular sized disposable water bottle.
- They are pretty much indestructible.
- Choose stainless bottles over plastic or aluminum to avoid any harmful materials.
- Reusable bottles save money in the long run. Buy one high-quality bottle for around $30 and refill it every day, versus spending $.50-$2 per small bottle of water (depending on where you are buying it).
- Kids learn lessons of social and environmental responsibility and how to take care of personal property.
No one uses paper bags anymore or plastic zip lock bags for lunch, right? Ok. Just making sure. Reusable, insulated lunch boxes are where it's at.
Reusable zip lock baggies
Zip lock baggies get used once, perhaps for only a few hours, and go into the trash can. It requires resources to produce plastic, money to buy it, and energy to dispose of it. Plastic baggies can take hundreds of years to degrade.
How many plastic zip locks do you use daily? weekly? annually? They add up!
Make the switch to reusable, washable zip lock bags. With a small, up-front investment, you can use these bags for years, and buy little to no disposable bags throughout the year. In the long run, you will save quite a bit of cash this way!
Purchase a few sets with a variety of sizes so that you have a rotation to use today while yesterday’s dry on the dish rack.
Watch for HaloVino zipper baggies, coming soon on our online shop. These will double as kids' lunch bags and your HaloVino tote!
Keep a variety of containers on hand for all types of foods. Leftovers and hot food goes great in thermoses, while cold food and sandwiches can be sent to school in clear, BPA free plastic containers with lids.
Sectioned containers with sealed lids are perfect for dual part snacks like hummus and veggies, chips and guacamole, or cheese and crackers.
Plastic utensils are used only once and thrown away. Like all other single use plastics, the amount of resources and energy required to produce, transport, and dispose of is massive in comparison to the amount of time they are used.
Additionally, they just are not necessary.
Purchase an inexpensive set of reusable utensils for your student, and teach them to be responsible for their equipment. Utensils are used, then go back into their cases and into their lunchbox…not in the garbage.
If your student eats food from the cafeteria, send a set of utensils each day in a case with a carabiner so that they can connect the set to their clothing before and after use.
Kids go to school about 180 days a year. Save the earth from 180 plastic forks and spoons per year by supplying a set of reusable ones.
Does your school send home a list of required school supplies to purchase each year? Or the option to purchase ready-made supply kits? How convenient!
But, what do you do with all the half-used (or completely unused) compositon books, binders, poly folders, sketch books, pens and pencils, and other supplies? They just go to waste each year when the new lists come in.
Take inventory before buying everything on that list. See what can be reused. Maybe ripping a few scribbled pages out of a notebook will make it like new. Or, wiping off a sharpie mark from a poly folder will give that folder another year.
Think twice about throwing out perfectly useful supplies just because they are not brand new. Can they be re-purposed? Perhaps they can be used in this year’s art projects? Can they be donated to the school, or to local rescue organizations?
When they are definitely not able to be used again by anyone, be sure to recycle what you can.
Recycle old markers
How many dead markers have you tossed in your kids’ lifetime? Guess what? All of those markers didn’t have to go to the landfills! Crayola ColorCycle is an amazing program devised to repurpose used markers rather than sending them to landfills.
The ColorCycle program has repurposed more than 70 tons of expended markers in the United States and Canada since 2013, and uses the most advanced plastic conversion technologies available today to make wax compounds for asphalt and roofing shingles as well as to generate electricity that can be used to heat homes, cook food, and power vehicles.
Recycle clothes & shoes
Don’t throw away old clothes and shoes. Textile pollution is a huge problem, though there is very little awareness about it. Read more about it here.
An obscene amount of water is required to produce cotton garments, and textile production contributes to pesticide use throughout the world. Polyester fabrics release micro plastics into our water systems.
In a world where we discard old garments the moment they become worn, and buying new garments is so easy and affordable, we tend not to think so much about the impact of our textile consumption.
Teach your kids to swap clothes, wear hand-me-downs, and repurpose clothes, shoes, and bags to be responsible fashionistas.
Help your school be more green!
- Encourage the PTA or school admin to ban Styrofoam and single use plastic water bottles from school events and class parties. (Schools can still sell water at events, consider offering boxed “just water” instead of plastic bottles.)
- Sell and promote reusable items in the student store, like insulated water bottles and coffee cups, zip lock bags, straws, and grocery bags.
- Ensure that classrooms are recycling paper, and that each room is outfitted with a clearly designated bin for paper.
- Place colored recycling bins around the school with clearly labeled signs so that students, parents, and teachers know exactly what to put in the bins witout contaminating them.
- Schedule quarterly presentations for expert speakers to talk to students about conservation and reducing the school’s carbon footprint.
Continue to model good behavior as a parent
Enjoying wine while you are with your kids is a good idea... as long as you are drinking responsibly.
Part of drinking responsibly is modeling behaviors you are teaching them... which means drinking out of a reusable wine tumbler, never out of a single-use plastic cup. HaloVino offers you that valuable opportunity!
Who knew that sipping your wine could actually offer an opportunity to talk to your kids about reusing materials, and being a conscious steward for the environment!? Win, win!
Cheers to that!
Wishing everyone a happy, healthy, smooth back-to-school time this month.