At Home Reuse

Keep cool with back to school

05 AUG 21 | 3 minute read

From the frantic panic to find out if last term’s uniform still fits to getting back into week-night sleep routines, there’s always a tonne of things to think about before the end of the summer holidays.

Not to mention the back-to-school shop, with countless hours spent surveying the stationery aisles to pick the perfect pencil case.

It’s time to get into the sustainable school spirit…

First, some homework

Don’t worry, this isn’t the brain-baffling-algebra-of-nightmares type of homework.

Instead, we’re setting you the challenge of digging out all the school supplies you can find at home – half-filled notebooks, pencils, older siblings’ textbooks, old lunch boxes, or schoolbags that need a bit of sprucing up, that kind of thing.

Once you’ve discovered all the supplies you already have, now’s the time to write a list of things that you need to buy. Writing a list will help you stick to buying only what’s needed, making it easier to avoid succumbing to pleas for those pretty, but impossible to read, coloured glitter pens.

If you do find that you need to buy new, look for school stationery in minimal packaging, made from recycled or sustainable materials that are durable enough to withstand rough and tumble school days.

If you need to buy new, look for school stationery in minimal packaging, made from recycled or sustainable materials that are durable enough to withstand rough and tumble school days. #BackToSchool #HowToWasteLess

Upcycling to school

Picking out new school stuff is always the highlight of the new school year. Let’s face it who, as an adult, hasn’t gotten excited about a trip to the office stationery cupboard at one time or another?

Your kids might be keen to hit the shops, but this is a great opportunity to teach them about the importance of using what we already have.

Four-fifths of the carbon footprint generated by Scotland comes from the products and materials we use so being able to reduce, reuse and repair will go a long way towards a more sustainable lifestyle.

Take an old backpack for example. A few fun patches or decorative stitching can make it feel brand new and, by personalising it themselves, they can feel more attached to it and more likely to look after it in the longer term.

Scraps of paper could be stapled together to create notepads, while used ring binders could be covered with leftover wrapping or wallpaper.

Sustainable school style

At times it can feel like the kids are growing overnight, let alone between term times. Trousers that were once turn-ups are fast becoming board shorts and that jumper bought to grow in to have already been grown out of.

Check to see if your school has a uniform swap shop or recycling bank where you can pass on anything that no longer fits and pick up preloved uniform in a new size. If they don’t, it’s worth asking if they could set something up like Preloved School Clothes from Stirling Council.

Some second-hand stores, like Revolve certified ApparelXchange, also offer preloved school uniform including jumpers, cardigans, pinafores, polo shirts and trousers.

No matter how hard you try to keep school uniform looking good, it can sometimes look like the kids have crawled through hedgerows on their way home.

Repair What You Wear has easy-to-follow videos for mending common uniform woes like chewed cuffs, underarm holes in knitwear and missing buttons to help keep uniform in wearable condition for longer.

Photo of a school packed lunch in a reusable container with reusable water bottle

Pack a waste-free lunch

Ditch the single-use clingfilm and sandwich bags for reusable containers or use brightly patterned reusable wax wraps to make lunchtimes even more fun!

Try making your own lunchbox snacks to cut down on packaging – these fruity porridge bars can also be frozen to avoid any food waste.

Ditch the single-use clingfilm and sandwich bags for reusable containers or use brightly patterned reusable wax wraps to make lunchtimes even more fun!  #BackToSchool #HowToWasteLess

Share your sustainable back-to-school stories with us by tagging @HowToWasteLess on social media.