How to Save Money & Go Green for Back-to-School

Gearing up for school? Go green! From no-waste lunches to thrift-store finds, Metro’s Judie Miller offers back-to-school tips that save money and help the environment.

At home:

- Pack waste-free lunches by using permanent containers, reusable utensils and cloth napkins.

- Host a fun clothing-swap party for friends and neighbors. 

- Avoid buying too many supplies by inventorying what you already have at home.

- Rather than throw away unwanted items, gather up extra pens, pencils, rubber bands, paper clips and other supplies for donation to a local elementary school or to organizations such as School & Community Reuse Action Project (SCRAP) and Schoolhouse Supplies.

At the store:

- Shop for back-to-school apparel at thrift and vintage-clothing stores, giving good-quality, one-of-a-kind fashions a second life.

- Consider refurbished computers over new ones. They often cost less, and some come with a warranty when purchased from the manufacturer.

- Choose products with more recycled content – for example, paper with a higher percentage of post-consumer materials – and less or no packaging. If the product comes with packaging, first ensure the wrapping or container includes recycled content and can be recycled.

- Look for pens and pencils made with sustainably harvested wood or recycled content.

- Check thrift stores for reusable school supplies such as binders and backpacks.

At school:

- Choose tap water over bottled products. It’s just as good and – at less than a penny per gallon – it’s a great bargain.

- Take good care of your pack, folders, cell phone and other items. They’ll last longer, saving you money in the long run.

- Prevent waste and unnecessary purchases by using pens until the ink runs out, holding on to pencils until they’re too short for writing and making use of each blank page in your notebook.

Want more ideas for going green? Click here or call Metro Recycling Information at 503-234-3000.


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