Green Guide to Back-to-School

Yesterday as I started to get ready to head back to school to clean my classroom I thought of the millions of children that would soon be converging upon stores buying school supplies. I decided right then and there to sit down and create a website dedicated to giving parents and students resources to shop with the Earth in Mind. The website is called a Green Guide to Back-to-School. Today a friend brought to my attention the Sidwell Friends School (her alma mater) and their commitment to buying school supplies with the Earth in mind. I think you’ll appreciate this PDF and all of the resources and ideas. I’ll put links to the different products on the Green Guide to Back-to-School should you be unable to find them locally. Also, if you can’t find them locally, ask the manager if she can stock them.


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Green Tip: Think Twice Before You Copy

The average school tosses thirty-eight tons of paper per year, or more than 8 million sheets!*


  • Be prepared when you go to the copier and have things that you can print on both sides.
  • If there is only a little print, see if you can have two things on the same paper and cut it in half sheets.
  • Use scrap paper for things like hall passes or better yet have a solid object that the students use. (I use an old CD with a hole drilled in it for a string. I personally think it’s disgustingly unsanitary for kids to be carrying around objects that they have to lay on the sink or bathroom floor. Yuck!)
  • Go digital. Is there a way to have the students do the assignment or see the information on a computer? Perhaps, you can even do some of your planning or communication with students and parents on-line. I am starting to use Google Sites for a lot of things this year

* The Green Book by Elizabeth Rogers & Thomas Kostigen, Three Rivers Press, 2007.

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Ecological Footprint

Two years ago, I put a website together called Save the Planet: Ecological Footprint Education. It has fun educational videos, a carbon footprint quiz and great resources for your classroom.

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Green Whiteboard Markers

Auspen has developed a xylene-free, non-toxic, refillable whiteboard marker. A set of 6 vibrant colored (green, orange, red, blue, purple and black) pens is the equivalent of 246 disposable markers! They initial cost seems a bit high, but over the lifetime of the pen it costs under 30 cents per fill. If you live in the US or Canada, they can be purchased through Ecosmart Stationary. I bought a set last week and love the colors. I’m looking forward to years of use.

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