Seeing Green for Back-to-School Items

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As summer begins to wind down, it signals a new year of school on the horizon. Every year the back-to-school list of vital items seems to grow longer. From new clothes to new computers to textbooks, there are plenty of “must-haves” that need to be purchased before the year begins. This year, help the Earth and consider making all of your back-to-school purchases as “green” as possible. Here are some great ways to do that:

  • As laptops become the norm on college campuses, consider a more eco-friendly computer. Laptops are available as Energy Star compliant, shipped in recyclable packaging with LED screens mercury and arsenic-free. Check out this list of some of the top green laptops can be found here.
  • Try using a rental service for textbooks instead of buying them from the campus store. It saves printing costs and you are recycling what you don’t need anymore for someone else to use. A good online site is
  • Looking for a fashionable and affordable back-to-school backpack? has a list of eco-friendly backpacks for under $100. Most are made from recycled materials such as cotton, aluminum components, and interior liners.
  • If you’re shopping for new school clothes, according to the National Retail Federation, total back-to-school spending for Kindergarten through 12th grade this year is estimated to reach over $20 billion. One way to go green your wardrobe this year is to evaluate what you really need to buy. Can you pass along hand-me-downs from older siblings or relatives? Do clothes just need minor mending? Can you look for cool stuff at thrift stores? For a list of trendy guy’s jeans made of organic cotton, hemp or sugarcane, visit Girls can also find comparable eco-fashions at

With just a little planning, back to school can easily be greener. That’s a lesson we can all use.

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