I have a confession to make. I LOVE back-to-school shopping. One of the things I looked forward to the most when I became a mother was that I would once again be able to shop for school supplies. It was such a wonderful time for me as a kid – carefully choosing the best pencil cases and notebooks that were so pretty and new – I loved it. Now that my daughter is starting Kindergarten, I get to start thinking about school supplies again – except that now I am a lot more conscious about what they contain. Since I’m doing the research, I’m going to share how to find eco-friendly school supplies.
Toxin-free backpacks do not contain harmful chemicals like BPA, Leads, Phthalates, or PVC (which ARE in those tantalizing $15 backpacks you see at Wal-Mart. I know. They are so tempting when they have all of your kids’ favourite characters on them!! I FEEL YOUR PAIN!!). BabyJoy.ca based out of Toronto, ON has a selection of toxin-free backpacks from brands like Beatrix NY, Little Life, Green Sprouts. (Super cute ones for toddlers and preschoolers!)
Here are some other options:
So Young‘s products are designed in Canada, and their backpacks are free of PVC, phthalates, lead and BPA. This backpack also have a chest strap which is a huge draw for me, as my daughter’s backpack was always falling off her shoulders in Kindergarten and I eventually sewed on a chest strap for her. Plus the designs are so unique and beautiful! Update: I purchased this backpack for my daughter for Grade 1, and she used it all year – and it still looks gorgeous! The chest strap was perfect for her too! Second Update: My daughter used it through Grade 2 and half of Grade 3 before one of the straps started getting a bit frayed. A little repair job and it is still working great!
SugarBooger creates safe products for babies and kids. This adorable backpack is made from denier nylon and is lead-free, BPA-free, phthalate-free, and PVC-free.
Skip Hop backpacks are BPA Free and Phthalate Free, and have matching lunchbags as well. There are a wide range of animals to choose from. How adorable and awesome is that?
If you’re looking for a different type of bag – like a tote bag, Rareform is a company in the U.S. that makes bags from discarded billboard vinyl – a very cool way to reduce that kind of waste! Each bag is one-of-a-kind because of the fact that they’re made from billboard vinyl.
Lunchbags can contain the same toxins as backpacks, so look out for labels that state that they are without BPA, lead, phthalates and PVC.
Life Without Plastic has an awesome plastic free lunchbag made from organic cotton and offcuts of wool (excess pieces from a bedding company) for insulation. It’s the ultimate plastic free option!
I’m a fan of food containers that are not made of plastic, as you probably already know. There are great stainless steel, glass, and silicone options out there now, both for food and beverages.
I love this stainless steel container with bamboo lid from Life Without Plastic! It is lightweight and versatile for any foods! Life Without Plastic also has a large variety of sizes in these fully stainless steel airtight containers. People always compliment me on them when they see my lunch!
LunchBots have stainless steel bento-style lunchboxes.
There are lots of great and fun stainless steel water bottles out there! LAMOSE ones are my absolute favourite because they are completely plastic free, AND you can get custom engravings on them too!
My other favourite water bottles are Ocean Bottles. These bottles are made from stainless steel and recycled plastic – and the purchase of each bottle funds the collection of ocean-bound plastic (equal to 1000 plastic water bottles!). These are super cool bottles because they open 2 different ways, so you can have a little drinking cup as well. Great for hot drinks on the go as well as cold drinks!
Reusable snack bags are a safe and eco-friendly alternative to ziplock bags.
I have a few of these Colibri snack bags that are PVC, phthalate, and lead free with nickel free zippers.
Lunchskins bags are BPA, lead, and phthlate free.
And don’t forget about utensils!
Check out more litterless lunch options in my post here!
Get notebooks made from recycled paper (100% post-consumer waste is the most eco-friendly) or sugarcane, and for bonus points – chlorine-free and soy ink printed.
Pens made from recycled plastic and recycled water bottles are now widely available.
And pencils made from recycled materials too – I love the ones made from newspapers!
There are pencil cases made from recycled materials too! Hurrah!
There really are more sustainable options for any school supplies you need – you just need to look at what’s out there!
What are your favourite eco-friendly school supplies?
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