Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Greening the Back-to-School Supply List

Over the next few weeks, you'll be making the annual trek to your local retailers to purchase back-to-school supplies. It's a great opportunity to make more eco-friendly choices --
  • Scissors -- Look for scissors that use recycled plastic in the handles. Kleenearth, sold under the Westcott brand name, has handles made from 70% recycled plastic. And Envirogrip, a Fiskars brand of scissors, has 30% recycled plastic handles.

  • Paper -- Many schools ask families to donate a ream of white paper to the school at the start of the year. Choose recycled. It's now available at just about every retailer. And if you see recycled notebook paper, choose that over virgin paper. You can also look for The Forest Stewardship Council logo on the packaging which tells you that any virgin paper used in the product came from a responsibly managed forest.

  • Pencils and pens -- It can be considered a toss up when it comes to pencils. Mechanical pencils are reusable but they also most commonly use petroleum-based plastic. The traditional wood pencil often comes from virgin forests (which can include, shockingly, rain forests) but on the flip side can be made with recycled materials. The best advice, whether you choose mechanical or traditional, is to look for pencils made with recycled materials. The same goes for pens, except you can also choose pens that have refillable ink instead of the disposable kind. Pilot has a BeGreen line of pencils and pens that have incorporated recycled content. Paper Mate's Earthwrite traditional pencils are made from 100% pre-consumer waste materials and are non-toxic. And Zebra Pen has highlighters, pens, and pencils made from 70% post-consumer waste materials.

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