As the summer comes to a close, the back-to-school season takes over, bringing with it huge sales and advertisements for school supplies, new clothes, and so much more. Typical back-to-school supply lists with the basic necessities have expanded and stores have started to include any and everything else in these sales which they can convince you is necessary to buy in order to start the school year off right. While school supply shopping can be a fun way to transition and prepare for the shift in seasons, those looking to reduce their consumption and waste may feel overwhelmed and looking for other options. Here are some tips for a more sustainable back-to-school season.

Back to School Supplies

Before school starts or during the first week of school, teachers may send a list of classroom supplies for students to bring on the first day to set them up for success. This is a helpful way to track exactly what you’ll need so you don’t overshop. Before you head to the store, shop your home first – you may already have some of the listed supplies around from older siblings or previous years. If you need consumable school supplies like pencils, coloring materials, paper, and more, buying them in bulk means less packaging and transport of items. You can then use these for multiple children, multiple years, donate extras to the classroom, or even go in on them with other families in the class.


As much as every commercial on TV encourages a whole new wardrobe, backpacks, lunch boxes, and more as a part of back-to-school shopping, you don’t necessarily need a huge update every single year. Plan ahead and take time during the summer to go through what you already have from the last year and see what you can still use.


If there are items you want to update even though you still have old ones in good condition, consider donating them or handing them down to others instead of tossing them in the garbage. Make a habit of saving reusable school supplies that are in good shape for younger siblings. You can also ask your school if they have a way to donate old supplies to the school or families in need.


Planning for lunch and snack times at school is also a great opportunity to cut down on waste. Get a reusable lunch box instead of paper bags, packed with reusable containers and bags instead of disposable ones. When shopping for food options, look for bulk supplies which you can sort into your own containers instead of individually pre-wrapped bags or containers. A reusable water bottle will also make sure your child is staying hydrated without the waste.


Get an A+ on trash and recycling when you go back to school with Brazos Valley Trash & Recycling Services. Contact us today to learn more about our services.