Office of Public Affairs
For Immediate Release: August 5, 2014
For more information contact:
Media Contact: Melinda Beer
SACRAMENTO – Whether your kids are in elementary school or college, the “Back to School” season is quickly approaching and the summer will soon be in your rearview mirror. CalRecycle offers these tips on how to reduce, reuse, and recycle to get you through the barbecues-to-books transition with less impact on the environment and your bank account. To buy or not to buy, that is the question. Before you hit the stores, sharpen your No. 2 pencil, bust out your steno pad, and check out these tips to earn a gold—or green—star in saving time, money and the environment.
The Bare Necessities
While it may be tempting to load up on bright shiny new school supplies especially during the many back-to-school blowout sales, it will serve you – and your pocketbook –to hold off until you evaluate and use up what you already have. If your scissors are still sharp and your notebooks still have blank paper, go with the golden, or “green” rule: Reduce, reuse, and recycle.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, ReBuy
Whenever possible, try to buy recycled. Many companies manufacture school supplies like pencils, paper, and scissors that have been made with recycled materials. Check out CalRecycle’s site for tips on buying recycled and to find recycled-content products made in California. Want to get really creative? Check out the CalRecycle back-to-school Pinterest board for DIY ways to take something old and make it new again.
Book Bartering & Text Trading
Use social media to find out if anyone you know can trade books with you and don’t forget to offer up your used books to them. There are loads of cool websites, like Freecycle, that can help you swap items with folks in your area. You can even rent books or find e-books online. There’s no rule that says you need to buy brand-new textbooks, especially if a previous edition contains the same relevant information. Trading and renting is much nicer to the environment and your budget – plus, once you’ve passed them along, those books won’t take up room in your home.
Pull the Old Switcheroo
Your kids outgrew their clothes before they got a chance to wear them twice, so see if you can swap their duds with someone else. Get together with other parents before the new school year starts to exchange gently used clothes and school supplies. Adults can participate, too! If you’re just sick of the sight of your own clothes, don’t be afraid to experiment with some DIY upcycling with friends.
Brown Paper Bags are so Last Season
How can anyone be expected to express their style with a plain brown paper bag? In lieu of the paper bag, try a stylish reusable lunch bag. Add some reusable containers and a cloth napkin, and you’ve instantly made a statement (and difference!)
Clever & Crafty
When it’s time to make that diorama of the galaxy for science class, see what you can find around the house that can be upcycled and artfully crafted into the Milky Way. This is a great opportunity to show off your ingenious crafting (and recycling) skills. Maybe an old tennis ball can be the sun and used tissue paper can act as moon rocks. Use your imagination! If a dance or birthday party is coming up, yard sales and thrift shops are a great place to find decorations and vintage threads.
Walk the Walk
How do you save gas, save money, get exercise, and spend some quality time with your kiddos? There’s no punch line, just a good green suggestion. Organize a “kid caravan” in which adults take turns accompanying kids to school on foot or on bikes.
School Your Kids
The best way to teach kids is through your actions. Do your part in reducing, reusing, and recycling what you can at home and in the office. It will show your little pupils that recycling is easy, especially when you make it a habit at home. If your children’s school has a recycling program, explain to your kids how it works and encourage them to be responsible recyclers. No recycling program at school? No problem! It’s easy and free with CalRecycle’s recycling starter kits and tips. Got a green thumb? Work with other parents to start a garden and compost program at school.