School is rapidly approaching and like most parents I'm scrambling to get all the school supplies they need.
thankfully we don't' need those $70+ calculators yet, but we still need things that I always wonder why. Like Tape. I mean really? Tape? Don't rip your papers and if you do then deal with it. I suppose the tape if for the teacher, not for the kids, but still.
Anyway, once again like we did last year we went thru Noah's already existing school supplies and are recycling them again for this year. I mean how many new pairs of scissors does a kid really need?
We found the usual stuff, but this year we scored even more. We only had to buy a few things (like tape) and I truly got to thinking how badly do these kids really need new supplies year after year.
I would guess that most kids don't need much except for maybe pencils, pens, paper and glue in most cases.
I'm sure last years backpack and lunch box would work just as good as well as last years scissors. I'm not sure why we think all kids require new of this and new that. Noah's been using the same package of colored pencils since 3rd grade (he's going into 5th) which to me says they really are not using those types of items THAT much for me to justify buying a new pack.
Recycling truly is about reusing and reusing last years supplies isn't so bad.
Now mind you, if you are buying supplies for those kids who don't have school supplies or teachers who need the supplies not only for themselves, but to help maybe some children who can't get the basics, then by ALL means -- Go Crazy. But if its for your kids and they have drawers full of pens, crayons, pencils, pencil cases, backpacks, etc then consider not buying new. Just reuse.
Think about it every kid in America were to use say their scissors from last year. We would save in packaging, shipping, boxing it up, making the item and your last years pair being added to the never ending supply of stuff in your kids rooms. It would make a huge dent. Statistics on that item being reused. I have no idea. It just would be a savings not only on how it effects our resources, but also your wallet.
It wouldn't hurt to teach our kids to stop expecting the new school year to automatically mean a whole new wardrobe full of clothes, brand new backpacks and supplies. If they don't' get it each year they won't expect it all the time. Sure you will get those kids that just have a fit using last years scissors or using last years backpack, but it won't kill them to learn that a lot of kids DO go without and for some they don't' even have simple things like pencils.
You might be thinking you should just take some of your last years stuff and give it to school or teachers and that would be a great option as long as its cool with them. A lot of preschool or kindergarten teachers take crayon scraps and melt them into little cupcake sized crayons for little hand to use. Pencils, paper, scissors can always be used. I bet if you looked you would find more items that you had never even dreamed were left over from last year -- that probably were not even used. I dare you to look into it. I promise your wallet will thank me. ;)
We did have to get paper, pencils & glue sticks, but I expected to have to buy something. Like Graph paper. I wouldn't have had that around just because. And no I'll be honest I didn't buy the fancy 100% recycled paper or the eco-happy pencils. I'll be honest those were just too $$ and hard to find what we needed. Now i know that sounds like I'm being not very eco-friendly by not going out and buying the Green labeled stuff, but here is what we didn't have to buy and I think you'll get the picture:
- a backpack
- a binder (which BTW was giving to us for free @ the Green Festival. So its green!)
- hand sanitizer (again from 3rd grade. We don't believe in using the junk)
- some pencils ( I had a pack left over from last year)
- a bible (required for Noah's private school)
- pencil sharpener
- Colored pencils. He is still using the same 2 packages from 3rd grade and possibly 2nd grade. the boxes themselves have seen better days, but DANG 2 boxes?? I saved some $$ there.
And I'm sure there are other things I forgot, but that's a pretty large amount of stuff I don't have to buy this year considering his list. Now i just have to find Eco-happy Kleenex and paper towels which I'm sure I'll get from Seventh Generation who I love. Gotta show the school peeps how we roll at our house.
Also, when we were at Target today Noah and I found little pencil holders made out of recycled Frito bags. So I let him get one. Terracycle makes them and i personally LOVE what they do.
So go clean out the closets before you go back to the store. It'll help us get out of the mindset of buying NEW NEW NEW every year. Makes Christmas shopping easier when you narrow down the school stuff.