School’s out for summer…well…close enough…  It is time for cleaning out desks and lockers and thinking about reducing school supply waste.  Before your kiddos dump their folders, notebooks, glue, scissors, pencils, pens, and the like, talk with them about what could be REUSED.

Many of the supplies that you purchased in the fall still have plenty of life left in them.  Encourage your student(s) to bring home those supplies or donate them to the school or other organization that saves them for those who might need them next school year.

Six students running away from front door of school excited

Here are some items that may have survived the year:

  • Book Bags – If you child has not outgrown this year’s bag and it’s still in good shape, use it again next year.
  • Lunch Bags/Boxes – Wash and disinfect them and they will be as good as new.
  • Notebooks – Although you may not be able to use these for next year, those remaining pages are useful for making grocery lists, handwriting practice, writing notes or drawing.
  • Crayon, Pens, Pencils & Markers – You might be missing colors in the crayon box, and maybe your pencil erasers are chewed off, but they still have some life left in them. You can create a bucket of crayons, pencils, pens and markers (for home use).  Did you know that there are at least 16 ways to use broken crayons (summer project, anyone?)?
  • Binders – If you invested in some sturdy binders in the fall, you definitely want these to come back home for next year.
  • Electronics – electronics make up a growing segment of our waste stream. Although there are many places to recycling them, there are also places to sell them back and make a little cash while reusing.
  • Gym Shoes – It is likely that your child has outgrown this year’s shoes, but they might still be useful for someone else (especially if they were only used for gym class). Goodwill or local consignment shops are great places to bless someone else with your outgrown school clothes and shoes.

If you would prefer to not have these items come back home or if you would like to donate your supplies to those who may need them, ask your school if they will have a collection for usable items.

And, don’t forget to recycle all those assignments you no longer need to hold on to.  That 700 word essay on the impact social media’s having on the writing skills of teenagers (OMG, srsly? SMH!) can be recycled into facial tissues that you’ll want to have on-hand when the next breakup happens… Check the rules of your particular recycling program, but you can generally recycle notebook paper, construction paper, copy paper, index cards, poster board and soft-backed books.

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