Zero Waste Swaps: Back to School

Welcome back everyone! With school right around the corner, supermarkets and office supply stores are packed with students buying items for school. Buying new items every year can be expensive and wasteful. Here are some tips to help minis your waste when it comes to back to school shopping.

  1. Shop your home! – The first thing to do is check all of your cabinets, closets and drawers looking for leftover supplies from previous years. This is a great way to save time, money and resources.
  2. Reuse items – It can be fun to purchase a new school bag or binders every year, but throwing out gently used items will contribute to landfills. So before throwing out last year’s binder, give it a new life with some decorations or colorful inserts.
  3. Find a creative reuse store – Austin is home to the Austin Creative Reuse a store loaded with creative supplies for everyone. From Art and Craft Supplies, to Fabric and office supplies, they have it all for a great price!

    Austin-Creative-Reuse-School-Supplies
    via Austin EcoNetwork
  4. Purchase sustainable materials – Opt for a stainless steel lunch box instead of a plastic or paper bag. Stainless steel is a great option because it’s light, you don’t have to worry about it breaking, and it will last forever.
  5. Cut out the unnecessary – Stick to what you need! Not feel the pressure to buy a pencil sharpener if your classroom already has one. If you materials list includes a black permanent marker, don’t purchase the colorful 24 pack. This will eliminate excess waste.
  6. Try online groups – Facebook groups can be a great way to get secondhand items for a discount, especially furniture, clothing and home items. Check out UT Furniture buy/sell/trade and UT Women’s Clothing Exchange.
  7. Utilize technology! – There are lots of online alternatives to school supplies. Try quilt to replace your index cards, or use a tablet to take notes and eliminate the need for paper.

    routinesdisplays
    via Elegant
  8. Shop Zero Waste sites – There are online stores dedicated to eloimated trash created buy school supplies and sell recyclable products. Try Wisdom Supply Co. or Package Free Shop for great alternatives.
  9. Campus events – UT students can take advantage of sustainable campus events like the CEC Trash to Treasure sale happening August 26th on the PCL Plaza. Trash to Treasure is one of CEC’s oldest project teams. This team collects items that would normally be discarded at the end of Spring semester after dorm move-out and sells them back to students for a dollar an item. This project is particularly useful to students because all of the donors are students. You can get furniture, school supplies, and LOTS of cheap clothing here. maxresdefault

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