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Kids across the metro will soon be heading back for the start of another school year. August is often a frenzy of shopping for new supplies, clothes, and other back-to-school necessities that can pack a punch both to your wallet and the environment. (Remember how many unused supplies your kid brought home at the end of the last school year?) But with a little planning and willingness to reuse, you can make this year’s back-to-school a little more sustainable (and headache-free).

Check to see if you have reusable supplies before you buy

Sometimes notebooks go unused from the year before, backpacks or lunchboxes are still usable, and pencils are hiding in the junk drawer – check your house for supplies before you buy!

Buy local and secondhand

There are lots of options for clothing that don’t involve new clothes or fast fashion. Thrift stores, and local Buy Nothing or Swap groups online are great options to help keep things out of landfills. For supplies, local secondhand stores, like Scraps KC, are great options.

Buy reused or refurbished tech

It’s always important to do research when buying refurbished electronics, but there are lots of good options out there. Buying refurbished computers, ipads, and phones help keep these larger items out of landfills and can save you a lot of money!

If buying new, consider buying items with lifetime warranties

Some retailers provide lifetime warranties for things like winter coats or backpacks. They can sometimes be a little more expensive upfront, but it will help reduce waste and be more cost effective in the long run.

Keep it green all year long

Back-to-school shopping isn’t the only time to think sustainably; there are small things you can do during the school year to reduce waste:

  • use notebooks all the way through
  • print on both sides of paper
  • recycle paper and cardboard items
  • compost leftover school lunch.