The school year is well under way and you’re (hopefully) starting to fall into a good routine. (Oh, but those mornings!) With so much going on it can be easy to let your greener side slide. We’re all ‘busy’ in one way or another, whether it’s enjoying time with the kids or a mix of work and home life. These tips to stay green can help you simplify, keep your carbon footprint in check, and provide a healthier environment (physically and mentally!) for you and your school aged child.
#1 Collect ALL the Papers
School kids come home with TONS of papers. Everything from notices to artwork, sign-ups to homework. Get a bin and keep anything with a blank back to use as scrap paper for drawing — you may even want to keep a bin for getting messy (like lining the table before a painting session!) When you’re all done, recycle all that is salvageable. If your school offers PDF newsletters, don’t be afraid to ask that paper copies not be sent home.
The ‘ick’ may be impossible to entirely avoid but basic hand-washing is always #1. If your child can’t make it to the sink all of the time, consider sending them with their very own personal, mom-approved ‘sanitizer.’ I like to make my own with a blend of pure aloe and a blend of essential oils. I purchased a 3-pack of mini pump-top sanitizers, emptied the bottles, and then refilled them with my homemade mix. One pump is all they need!
If you’re not into essential oils, or you just don’t want to deal with DIY you can try alcohol free blends from companies committed to safer chemicals. One of my favorites uses thyme oil and is very gentle on sensitive little hands.
If you don’t already pack lunches, you may not know what you’re missing! Not only can your child have a more rounded meal (multi-bin containers like Planetbox make it easy!) but you can save a lot of money too. School lunches can cost as much as $3! I have three kids, so you can see how quickly that can add up. We shop organic foods and are still able to save a bundle. I like to pack a water bottle, 2-3 fruits and veggies, plus a sandwich (or) yogurt/cheese with a grain. I’m generally looking at around $4-5 per day for three kids.
If I don’t do any prep, I can have lunches freshly chopped up and ready to go in about 15 minutes (while the kids eat breakfast!) If you require less time, prepare for the week ahead on Sunday by pre-washing and chopping any fruits or veggies. You can even pre-make and freeze sandwiches!
#4 Forgo the “Stuff” Fundraisers
Fun runs and active fundraisers are great, but selling unnecessary tchotchkes or unhealthy foods is not really the message you want to send (and it’s probably not what you really want to spend your money on anyhow!) Engage in the good stuff, but don’t be afraid to speak up to the PTO (or join in and be part of the change) and recommend cleaner options. If all else fails, send in a check and skip out on the craziness altogether.
This article was brought to you by Tom’s of Maine. The views and opinions expressed by the author do not reflect the position of Tom’s of Maine.