A significant amount of plastic could be taken out of the waste equation entirely by switching to Zero Waste back to school kits. Ask anyone that has taken a child's back to school shopping list to a big box office supply store, and they'll tell you they leave with a big plastic bag full of plastic.

plastic rulers

plastic pencil case

plastic pencil sharpener

plastic markers

plastic highlighters

plastic pens

vinyl binders

 

In order to bring students and their families back to the store every fall, these products need to be:

Trendy, cheap, and designed to fall apart. Making this stuff seem like a good value is very good business, but environmentally ignorant.

The definition of this practice is Planned Obsolescence "a policy of planning or designing a product with an artificially limited useful life, so it will become obsolete, that is, unfashionable or no longer functional after a certain period of time.[2] The rationale behind the strategy is to generate long-term sales volume by reducing the time between repeat purchases (referred to as "shortening the replacement cycle")."


Shown below are supplies that take single use disposable plastics off the list.

  Not just recycled - RECYCLABLE!!! At the end of the school year, unscrew the metal three ring portion, recycle the cover, and attach a new cover. This company also sells folders and binder inserts.

 

Not just recycled - RECYCLABLE!!!

At the end of the school year, unscrew the metal three ring portion, recycle the cover, and attach a new cover.

This company also sells folders and binder inserts.


http://www.auspen.us/ These markers are fantastic - no nasty smell (they don't use Xylene) - The colors are vibrant and they last a long time. The ink refill bottles are plastic - the company is looking at developing larger ink bottles.

http://www.auspen.us/

These markers are fantastic - no nasty smell (they don't use Xylene) - The colors are vibrant and they last a long time. The ink refill bottles are plastic - the company is looking at developing larger ink bottles.


http://www.michaelroger.com/Decomposition-Books Our school has used these in such a way that helps with order/organization - For example, the 8th grader's English Decompostion Book has a different cover than that of their History book - and the same for the 7th graders. Soy ink/100% Post Consumer Paper

http://www.michaelroger.com/Decomposition-Books

Our school has used these in such a way that helps with order/organization - For example, the 8th grader's English Decompostion Book has a different cover than that of their History book - and the same for the 7th graders.

Soy ink/100% Post Consumer Paper


http://pencils.com Aside from being Forest Stewardship Certified, the quality of both the pencils, and the color pencils is noticeably better than the standard ones the school had on hand from years prior. 

http://pencils.com

Aside from being Forest Stewardship Certified, the quality of both the pencils, and the color pencils is noticeably better than the standard ones the school had on hand from years prior. 


http://www.stubbypencilstudio.com We have used these in our program, and I like them, but I'm still in search of a refillable highlighter as I don't think the greater population is willing to use a pencil style highlighter over the ink sort we've all become accustomed to. There are a few companies with such a product in the works.

http://www.stubbypencilstudio.com

We have used these in our program, and I like them, but I'm still in search of a refillable highlighter as I don't think the greater population is willing to use a pencil style highlighter over the ink sort we've all become accustomed to. There are a few companies with such a product in the works.


Surprisingly hard to find Binder Dividers that aren't plastic... these are the only 2 I'm aware of!

http://www.amazon.com                                             http://www.guidedproducts.com

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I pulled this one out of a hat because I haven't settled on what exactly makes up the best, least wasteful eraser.

I pulled this one out of a hat because I haven't settled on what exactly makes up the best, least wasteful eraser.


The pencil sharpeners and metal edged rulers (metric one side, standard on the other) have many sources - also looking into whether KUM has a pencil sharpener (as shown above right) that uses a material other than bioplastic to encase the sharpener.  

The pencil sharpeners and metal edged rulers (metric one side, standard on the other) have many sources - also looking into whether KUM has a pencil sharpener (as shown above right) that uses a material other than bioplastic to encase the sharpener.

 


https://imaginationinternationalinc.com/copic/inspire/

These refillable markers are really more for use by artists than by school children. I am hoping to find a company willing to make such a product accessible.


Don't forget that Crayola will take back ALL spent markers (any brand!) from your school...

Set up a program at your school now - It's too easy!!

http://www.crayola.com/colorcycle/sign-in.aspx

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