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6 Zero Waste Back to School Supplies

It's the most wonderful time of the year!

No, not that time, the other time. After six weeks of trying to amuse and occupy your children without resorting to the iPad or TV, it's time for them to go back to school for some learning, knowledge and making friends!

However this time also means for lots of waste as you grab the last few items still missing from their school supply list. I've rounded up some of the best zero-waste alternatives, saving you some money (in the long run!) and the planet.


Reusable water bottle

The simplest and yet one of the most effective. Say you spend £2 a week on a 12-pack of plastic bottles. That’s over £100 a year! Plus that’s 600 bottles a year going into landfill or ending up in the sea just from one household.

Save your money and your planet by switching to reusable steel or paraben-free plastic bottles and filling them with tap water instead. Don’t like the taste of your tap water? Chill it in the fridge in a glass bottle or carafe, it makes a lot of difference! Or, get a charcoal water filter like the ones from Black + Blum.

Choose a well-reputed brand with a long guarantee like Klean Kanteen, SHO or Chilly’s. They come in a variety of patterns and colours, so choose your favourite and make it a lifelong friend! The insulated ones certainly will be your best friends when you need a cool drink in summer and a hot one in winter.


Stainless steel or bamboo straws

If they are a necessity for drinking, invest in a set of reusable bamboo or steel straws. Be aware that steel straws take on the temperature of the liquid inside them, whether that is refreshingly chilled or piping hot.


Stainless steel lunch box

It’s light and won’t break unlike glass ones might. Also, many years down the line when it comes to the end of its life, it’s recyclable! They come in various options from one-to-four layered tiffins, so choose the one best suited to your child’s lunch size. 


Reusable sandwich wrap

Rather than go through 300+ flimsy throwaway sandwich bags a year, get a long-lasting set of sandwich wraps from Planet Wise!

Again, these come in various different designs so everyone will recognise their own and they just need a quick wipe over after use.



Everyone’s favourite B2S supplies! Who doesn’t love buying new pens, pencils and notebooks for a new year of learning?! Here are my top zero-waste supplies:

  • Stainless steel ruler
  • Moleskine cahier or “Decomposition” notebooks - all 100% recyclable or compostable. If they’re a bit too pricey, try to get notebooks made from recycled paper.
  • Pencils in cardboard packing.
  • Cotton, oilcloth or recycled pencil case.



You’ll need something to carry all this zero-waste stuff, so invest in a good backpack! Not a cheap one that falls apart after every season, but one with a lifetime guarantee like Kipling. Mia Tui also have the generously sized Sydney backpack. Find one that they really love and they will hang onto it for years.


What other tips do you have for cutting back on waste for school supplies and lunches? Share them below, it may help others do the same.