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Going Back To School Green

By Elaine Carter

There are many ways that you can keep the environment in mind as you prepare for your child’s return to school.  The earth is our first home, and we must collectively take care of it.  Presented are suggestions and ideas to help green-up your family’s back-to-school routine.

Clothing

There seems to be a tradition that when school starts, kids expect shiny new outfits.  In reality, it is doubtful that kids have out grown their clothing from the previous school year.  It is more of a mental expectation and a cultural ritual than an actual necessity. This shopping ritual can be a burden on the environment as raw materials needed to make fabric are normally gathered from virgin resources. There is some green re-thinking that can go into planning for school clothing. These ideas may even be easier on your wallet as an added benefit.

 

If your child is required to wear a uniform, then chances are the garments worn from the previously year can be reused.  If uniforms are not required and new clothes are warranted, here are some ideas to help the environment relax from resource over-utilization.

Have a heart-to-heart talk with your child about the importance of conserving resources.  The majority of consumer goods create a huge carbon footprint. Most items travel for thousands of miles before consumers purchase them from local stores.  Jeans, t-shirts, underwear and many other apparel are often made from cotton.  It takes one pound of pesticides to make three pounds of cotton (equivalent to three t-shirts).  There are several chemical processes involved to refine cotton into wearable fabric.  Many of the chemicals used are toxic to the environment.  Some clothing manufactures are waking up to this impact and are using organic cotton that eliminates the above processes.  Bamboo is a good alternative to traditional cotton fabrics.  Bamboo grows like a weed and does not require pesticides.  Once it is converted into fabric, the feel and texture is very similar to cotton.

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