Are you stocking up with equipment for the new school year? We’ve put together a handy guide to going back to school, the organic and eco-friendly way. Forget fast fashion and plastic lunch boxes: it’s perfectly possible to find green alternatives to pretty much everything your child needs.
Making delicious organic lunches
There’s a great choice of delicious organic food that’s perfect for school lunch boxes. Aim for a good blend of fruit, veg, carbs, dairy and protein, as well as a refillable bottle that they can keep topped up with water all day.
Hummus with chopped veg and organic breadsticks, wraps made with organic ingredients and little yoghurts all make great additions to their healthy lunch box. Pop in an organic cereal or fruit bar as a tasty treat.
If you’re opting for school-made lunches but want to know more about the ingredients and processes, have a chat with the school.
Choosing eco-friendly lunch boxes
Sometimes it feels like packing lunch and snacks for kids involves a mountain of plastic and single-use packaging like cling film and foil. However… it doesn’t have to be this way. Here at Ulula, we have a lovely collection of eco-friendly lunch boxes and bags.
We love the bento-style stainless steel lunch boxes, which stop any squishing and let you pack the food in separate compartments (a lot of kids prefer this). Add a little snack box from ECOlunchbox for smaller things like grapes and dried apricots.
Switch to reusable water bottles
There are so many great reusable water bottles on the market these days, that it’s easy to pack an eco-friendly drink. What’s more, they have superior insulating properties, keeping drinks lovely and cool on warm days.
Choose from sippy cups, sports bottles and bottles with built-in straws. Add a dash of extra personality with colourful bottle sleeves from Pura.
Find an organic school bag
Yes, it is possible to find an organic school bag! Melawear makes a fabulous range of organic cotton canvas backpacks, which come in every colour you can think of. The padded shoulder straps make them super-comfy to wear, and there are plenty of exciting little pockets to pop treasures in. Add a matching organic cotton pencil case.
We’re aware that buying organic isn’t always the inexpensive option, and you can get hold of cheaper school bags. However, these organic cotton canvas bags are super quality, and they’re durable enough to survive the daily trip to school for years.
Putting together a school uniform, the green way
How do you put together a sustainable school uniform? If the school specifies a supplier, this is a conversation you’ll need to have with them; however, if you’re allowed to pick your own clothes, you should be able to go as eco as possible.
Fabrics like recycled polyester sound like a good idea, and yes, they do make use of used plastics. But, they can’t continue to be recycled, so sadly will almost inevitably end up in landfill. Recycled poly also still sheds microplastics.
So what’s the solution? Organic cotton is natural, sustainable and biodegradable, ticking a lot of boxes! Because the fibres are so strong, organic cotton school uniform can be passed on to new users for years.
Speaking of which, second hand is always a good way to shop for kids’ clothes, because they grow out of things so quickly! Most schools hold regular swap shops and uniform sales, which are a great opportunity to pick up the right kit.
Most primary schools ask that long hair is tied back. Stock up on plastic-free hair ties, made from sustainably sourced rubber.
Other eco back-to-school tips
Bags, bottles and boxes: check. Uniform: in hand. What else do you need to think about for an eco-conscious return to school?
- Transport. Yes, this is a big one, and for rural families, there aren’t many alternatives to a car. Walk or cycle to school if you can, and maybe set up a group to make the school run fun. Explore public transport: buses are a great adventure when you’re little!
- Lift sharing. If driving is your only option, try to set out with a car full. Lift sharing can also free you up on some days if you take it in turns.
- Pass it on. If something can be passed on, pass it on! As well as uniform, PE kit, books, and even some stationery items can be handed on to younger kids.
- Bake sales. These are a big part of school fundraising activities. If you need to cheat a bit (and we won’t tell anyone), take a look at our range of delicious organic biscuits and chocolate.
- Organic gifts for teachers. Say thank you to your kids’ fabulous teachers with a thoughtful organic gift.
We hope this has given you a few handy tips for an eco-conscious return to school. With a bit of thought and planning, the new school term will get off to a super-green start.