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Searching for Sustainable School Supplies

By Linda Brown-Kuhn
August 25, 2010
File under: School Supplies, Shopping, Sustainable Products


As mom to a high schooler and a fourth grader, I am now a veteran school supply shopper. Fortunately, buying eco-friendly school products for my kids has only become easier in recent years. Earth-friendly products can now be found everywhere from convenience stores to big box stores, as long as you keep an eye out.

Here are some cool and widely available eco-friendly school supplies to look for this season.


: Paper Mate’s Earthwrite pencil looks like your basic pencil except that it’s made from 100% recycled wood. Dixon Ticonderoga’s taken a different tact and skipped wood altogether with their line of Renew pencils made from recycled tires. Forgo the electric sharpeners with these sleek black pencils. And I just can’t resist the whimsy of scented Smencils constructed of recycled newspaper.

notebook.jpg Notebooks: Staples’ Sustainable Earth brand carries stylish sugarcane-based notebooks in a couple of different sizes. They’re made from 80% sugarcane plant fiber waste left after sugarcane is processed to make sugar. Stone Paper Composition Books are tree free, made from a mixture of mineral powder and a bit of non-toxic resin. The result is paper with a feel that’s heavier, smoother, and I swear almost cooler to the touch than tree-sourced paper. Definitely noteworthy. Greenroom eco makes snazzy notebooks as well as binders and file folders using recycled paper and non-toxic soy inks. They’re available at Target.

jimnie_clip_pen.jpgPens: Zebra’s Eco line includes the Eco Jimnie Clip Pen, a refillable pen made from 75% post-consumer recycled materials. The packaging is made totally from post-consumer waste. Corn-based material comprises the bulk of the Paper Mate Biodegradable Retractable Ballpoint Pen. It is refillable (always a green plus) and the company claims the majority of the pen will biodegrade within a year in soil or compost. Instructions are included on what parts to bury and what parts to toss.

kleen-earth.jpgMiscellaneous: Westcott Kleenearth carries a line of products for kids including scissors, rulers, and compasses that contain recycled materials. The handle on their scissors, for instance, is made from 70% recycled material and of that 30% is post consumer. I found a display with these products at my local Staples.

This won’t take care of your whole supply list but it’ll get you off to an earth friendly start. Keep your eyes open and be ready to read labels. You can always fill in missing items at specialty eco-stores online or in your area.

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