To the dismay of many, the Summer is winding down and the school year is right around the corner. (Cue the throwing of tomatoes- hey, they’re compostable!) Like it or not, the time is coming to trade in our beach bags and swimsuits for backpacks and school uniforms. As students young and old start shopping for school supplies, there is a lot to decide- which pen works right for me? Which backpack can I fit all of my stuff in while also looking cool? This year, keep the Earth in mind and pick out some sustainable school supplies!

Looking to make a point to be sustainable? Pencils from Smencils and Tree Smart are made from 100% recycled newspapers. You need to keep those pencils in something- try an Upcycled Pencil Pouch from Terracycle made from recycled drink pouches! For those who prefer pens, Buy Eco Green pens are biodegradable, while Bottle 2 Pen’s are made from water bottles! Everyone makes mistakes- that’s why you need Green Apple Recycled Erasers made from 100% recycled rubber- clear up your mistakes, don’t clog up the landfills! Studying is a breeze with a highlighter made from 100% recyclable material! Even art supplies can be green with colored pencils made from recycled wood and even biodegradable crayons made from soybean oil. And don’t forget- the HCIA’s 16th Annual Crayon Recycling Contest begins November 15!

So now that you have something to write with, you need something to write on. Staples and Inkhead both sell notebooks made from renewable and recyclable resources. Need some reminders? Get yourself a few packs of Recycled Post-It Notes. Stay organized with a Terracycle Binder and Terracycle Dividers made from recycled paper and steel- plus they look pretty cool! Need to keep it all together? Do it with an eco-friendly staple-free stapler! You’ll also need some paper clips- why not get ones with 100% total recycled content with 50% postconsumer recycled content. And when it’s all said and done, you need something to carry your stuff in- look for an eco-friendly backpack from EcoGear or Terracycle made from recycled material!

Lunch- no matter what age you are, it’s still the best period of the day! Instead of placing your lunch in aluminum foil or plastic wrap, try a Bento box which is a perfect way to store snacks and lunch items. Check out Bentology’s leak proof box or EcoLunchbox’s stainless steel option. And since you have an Earth-friendly box to keep your lunch it, eat it with reusable bamboo utensils such as a two-in-one EcoSpork and an Ecotravel Utensil Set. While you’re at it, swap out your disposable napkins for cloth napkins which eliminate waste! You have to wash your lunch down with something- try a stainless steel water bottle to keep your drinks hot or cold all day- plus, it’s reusable! Keep it all together with a chemical free, biodegradable lunch bags which not only is Earth-friendly but also keeps your lunch cool!

While the end of Summer is tough, the beginning of a new school year is always exciting! This year, make it the best year yet with some sustainable school supplies! We only have one Earth- we all need to do our part to protect it! From all of us at the Hudson County Improvement Authority, we wish you a Happy, Healthy & Green School Year!