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Back to School: Sustainability Tips

As terms come to an end, it is a good opportunity for us to take a break and look at our day-to-day routines and evaluate what we can do to be more sustainable. Making sure our children are school ready can be resource heavy and often there are practices and habits that can make it more sustainable. Here’s some of the tips and tricks we have for parents. 

Choose more sustainable supplies 

When choosing products for your children, opt for eco-friendly school supplies such as recycled paper, notebooks made from sustainable materials, and refillable pens and pencils. For example, you can look for the FSC certification to make sure the company you’re buying from is committed to sustainable forestry.

Notebook made with recycled material

Understanding the supply chain of brands you purchase from not only ensures you choose the more sustainable and ethical option, but it can be a good opportunity to educate your children about the importance of understanding where products come from and the impact of their purchase decisions. 

If your school encourages purchasing school supplies from them, you can also voice your preference for sustainably sourced supplies if they’re not already using those.  

Pack waste-free lunches 

Ask any teacher, and they’ll tell you the most common waste created by their students is disposable food packaging. While it is convenient to buy individually packaged snacks or yoghurt pots, they are not the most sustainable nor economical option.  

Reusable lunchbox and containers used to pack waste-free lunches

Investing in reusable lunch containers and bottles not only helps to reduce the amount of waste generated but can also be a money saving hack. It is also a great opportunity to teach your children how to be responsible and self-sufficient by having them pack their own lunches. 

Choose more sustainable transportation

Consider walking, biking, or using public transportation when commuting to school. Not only does this reduce carbon emissions, but it promotes physical activity and reduces traffic congestion around school campuses. If driving is necessary, organise carpool groups with other parents to minimise the number of vehicles on the road. 

Students walking to school to reduce carbon emissions
Students walking to school to reduce carbon emissions

Utilise the waste hierarchy

Take advantage of the school holiday to educate your children about the importance of sustainability and introduce them to the waste hierarchy: 

The waste hierarchy

Involve them in making decisions at home and let them use the waste hierarchy to guide their decisions and help them reduce their footprint and the waste they generate.  

It could be a fun learning experience for them to attempt repairing something they already own instead of getting it new, involving them in recycling and composting, or going on thrift store runs to help lengthen the lifespan of pre-existing and gently used items.  

Get involved in green initiatives

You can engage with your child's school and community to support green initiatives and environmental education programs. This could involve joining parent-teacher associations focused on sustainability, participating in campus clean-up events, and advocating for eco-friendly policies within the school district. 

7-Eleven Cup Rescue Schools Program

An easy one would be to sign your school up for the 7-Eleven Cup Rescue Schools Program with us.

This program allows schools to collect paper cups that can’t be recycled through kerbside recycling. We partnered with 7-Eleven to provide this service free-of-charge to encourage students to recycle and the paper cups get a second life either as part of a road, lightweight concrete or other construction materials.  


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