Living Sustainably: Five Ways to Put Green into Back to School

By Marissa Berghorst, Mother and Businesswoman
It’s that time of year again! Back-to- school season can be a challenge for families who have a goal of living more sustainably when the back to school list seems never ending.
Here are five ways to create a greener back-to- school season for your family.
1. Don’t create more waste. Before you hit the stores, check out what you already have around the house. Use what you have at home before you buy new. Repairs, repurposing and upgrades will usually come at a lesser cost to you and the Earth.
2. Choose non-toxic and eco-friendly school supplies. Choose PVC-free binders, crayons made in the United States and 100 percent recycled, chlorine-free notebooks.
3. Go green when packing lunches. Look for BPA, PVC and lead-free lunch containers in a variety of sizes that can replace the need for plastic or paper bags each day. Stainless steel is a great option for lunch containers. Not only will these packages cut down on waste, they will cut down on the cost of packing lunches.
4. Rethink school clothes shopping. Start your shopping trip at a local consignment shop. We have a number of great options in the Holland area. When buying new, opt for eco-friendly fabrics like organic cotton, hemp or wool, and repurposed or recycled materials.

5. Let your kids be involved in the back to school shopping. Explain to them why your family is making the product choices you are making. Bringing them into the conversation will start them on their own path of living sustainably.

 Marissa Berghorst is a mom of kids ages 5 and 7 and co-owner of ECOBUNS BABY +CO. in Holland, which specializes in eco-friendly baby and parenting products and is a 2017 recipient of the Local Motion Award from Local First of West Michigan.

Lunch containers.jpg Reusable lunch containers are a good choice to reduce both negative environmental impact and costs.

This Week’s Sustainability Framework Theme:
Environmental Awareness/Action: Environmental education and integrating environmental practices into our planning will change negative outcomes of the past and improve our future.

Living Sustainably is a collection of community voices sharing updates about local sustainability initiatives. It is presented by the Holland-Hope College Sustainability Institute, a joint project of Hope College, the City of Holland and Holland Board of Public Works. Go to
institute for more information.