Back To School Eco-Friendly Shopping Ideas

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It's once again time to get kids ready for the upcoming school year. The National Retail Federation's (NRF) 2006 Back-to-School Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey, conducted by BIG research found that families with school-aged children will spend an average of $527.08, up from $433.77 in 2005, on back-to-school items. When choosing products this year remember to help your kids and our environment by making eco-friendly choices in your back to school purchases.

Here is a list of Eco-friendly shopping ideas:

Backpacks - Reuse your backpack! If you absolutely need a new pack then look for backpacks that have a lifetime warranty or can easily be washed and reused by other family members. Local retailers such as REI or the Redwood Trading Post have lots of canvas packs. If you have already bought a new bag and your old backpack is still in good condition, donate it.

Lunchboxes - Purchase a lunchbox and then fill it with reusable containers. It will save you money over the school year by decreasing your use of disposable plastic and paper bags, as well as reduce your school's garbage. Learn how to pack a No Waste Lunch. Also a great source for lunchboxes is Laptop Lunch Boxes or your local container source such as Tupperware.

Refillable pens and pencils - When you use refillable pens or pencils you are saving natural resources as well as the need for your student to carry a pencil sharpener or worry about breaking their pencil in the middle of a test. Most stationary stores offer a wide selection of refillable pens and pencils.

Folders, Notebooks and Paper - If you are shopping for pocket folders, notebooks, and paper look for the made from recycled paper symbol . This symbol identifies products made from recycled material, and by purchasing these products you help to close the loop on recycling. Some stores carry 100% postconsumer recycled content notebooks. Remember to always look for the symbol on the package. Find out where you can buy recycled.

Calculators - Have you ever considered a solar calculator for your student? Solar calculators are a great way to reduce the need of disposable batteries and to reduce stress because you'll never have to check the batteries before an exam again. You can find solar calculators at most retail stores that carry specialty calculators.

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