Recycled School Supplies for Kids: an Environmental Lesson

School chalk board with recycle symbol

From preschool through senior year, kids need school supplies. Even when back-to-school shopping is done, they still seem to need more and more stuff … when things go missing, for the class play, when something wears out—or just because.

Many school-related products from sneakers to Lacrosse pads are made from plastics, and more and more school supplies are using recycled plastics. So this year, when junior says, “Hey, I need a new …,” think recycled school supplies, and teach your budding Einstein an environmental lesson.

Some Recycled Plastic School Supplies

For example, the perfect backpack is a school staple, as kids today lug around what appear to be 400 pounds of books. For your littler ones, Beatrix makes backpacks with recycled plastics that are lightweight and easy to clean. The manufacturer says that each pack uses the equivalent of seven water bottles. For your somewhat larger kids, Green Smart offers cool backpacks, laptop sleeves, messenger bags, and water bottle coolers made with recycled plastics from bottles. Green Smart says the company has diverted more than 750,000 plastic bottles from waste.

Getting kids to eat their greens can be a chore. But perhaps they can be a bit greener at school mealtime with recycled plastic lunch bags. Readily available from many online sites, these bags commonly are made with recycled plastics from beverage bottles. For example, Clean Conscience lunch bags use approximately three recycled bottles, which recaptures the value of plastics— and teaches kids a valuable lesson about the importance of recycled school supplies

“I need to write down something—hand me a refrigerator.” Pencils made from refrigerators? That’s right—BIC® now makes pencils with recycled polystyrene plastic from discarded refrigerators. The recycled polystyrene pencils work just like traditional cedar pencils. One refrigerator produces enough polystyrene for 640 pencils—a great a lesson that something as simple as a pencil can make a difference.

For some kids, school seems all about the clothes. Companies such as Patagonia make fashionable cold and wet weather kid apparel out of recycled soda bottles and plastic fabrics. Jackets, vests, hats, gloves, sweat pants, under layers—all help close the recycling loop and give your kid something to brag (and feel good) about.