With 32 submissions from 28 green women bloggers, I am thrilled to share what may be the most comprehensive listing of environmentally friendly back-to-school tips on the web. From daycare to college to homeschooling, we’ve got you covered! And these tips are from women who’ve been there and done that: the wonderful women of the Green Moms Carnival. Thanks to all of the contributors for sharing your insights so that together, we can green those schools!
On a side note, Happy Birthday to the Carnival! It’s hard to believe, but we got started a year ago August when we launched our very first carnival, “Tackling Global Warming.”
Let’s dive in. The 32 blog posts fall into eight categories:
- At the Beginning: Green Childcare;
- Healthy Meals and How to Pack a Waste-Free Lunch;
- School Supply Lists and Eco-Friendly School Supplies;
- The Edible Schoolyard;
- Why It’s Worth Fighting to Keep Recess;
- Greening Your School: From Green Committees to Green Certification;
- Back to School: Homeschooling Edition; and
- Tips for Green College Kids.
So sit back, grab your BPA-free water bottle, and enjoy this comprehensive look at Green Schools.
At the Beginning: Green Child Care
- Jennifer McNichols of ZRecommends and The Tranquil Parent shares some great advice in her post, “Green Daycare: A five step method for getting a childcare center to support your cloth diapering.” She did it, so can you!
- Mary Hunt of In Women We Trust tells us how the Los Angeles Community College District is setting new standards for green building, which benefits the child care centers in the system. As Mary puts it, “build green, teach green, learn green, live green and bring the next generation along in your footsteps.”
Eating Healthy – What to Eat and How to Pack a Waste-Free Lunch
- Of course we all know the most important meal of the day is breakfast. Sommer from Green and Clean Mom shares some great Healthy Breakfast Ideas.
- Amy from Crunchy Domestic Goddess shares some really nifty tips for Turning Back to School Lunches Green. I especially appreciate the fact that Amy brings up the issue of over packaging, and she even includes links to great recipes!
- Green Bean from Green Phone Booth shares a wonderful story about an old cookbook, circa 1951, devoted to packing healthy, interesting, and waste-free lunches. She poses the question: So what have we really learned in 2 generations?
- Like Green Bean, Mindful Momma writes about a simpler era and then goes on to include some simply wonderful, clever tips for packing a healthy lunch. Check it out!
- Amy of Gift of Green passes along some helpful tips for how to pack a waste-free lunch in her post, “Back to School, Back to Green.”
- Kristen from GreenStyleMom puts our concerns into perspective in her post, “School Lunch Priorities.”
Those Darn School Supply Lists, Plus Eco-Friendly School Supplies: What are They? And How to Find Them
- Do you know about smencils? I hadn’t heard of them until I read Citizen Green on “Back to School Green (With as Little Plastic as Possible) about her adventures to three big box stores (Walmart, Staples and Target) to try to find environmentally friendly school supplies.
- Are you sick and tired of antibacterial soap everywhere, including on your child’s school supply list? ( I know I am!) Katie from Kitchen Stewardship issues this Bath and Body Works Anti-Antibacterial Soap Letter. Katie has made it easy to, as she puts it, “vent about the overuse of the toxic triclosan and the crazy marketing Bath and Body Works throws at us, our children, and their school administrators.” On her site you’ll also find links to information about safe hand-washing, the dangers of antibacterial soaps, and a breakdown of hand sanitizers to prepare you for the back-to-school germaphobia. (Frankly, I think I’ll pass her letter along to my school administrators in addition to Bath and Body Works. It irks me to no end that we were all but required to buy anti-bacterial cleansers for the classroom!)
- Sommer of Green and Clean Mom, in her second submission to the carnival, feels much the same as Katy does about anti-bacterial cleansers, particularly those with triclosan. In her post, “Triclosan and the Non-Toxic Classroom,” this former teacher offers some tips for dealing with the schools around this issue.
- Beth Terry of Fake Plastic Fish presents us with a conundrum: which one of these three binder options is actually more environmentally friendly? As with so much in the green movement, the choices aren’t clear-cut.
- However, as Beth points out in her second contribution to the carnival, the choice of using PVC or not is actually quite clear-cut. Beth presents a great argument against the use of PVC binders, lunchboxes, and the like, and links to more resources from the Center for Health and Environmental Justice, which has just launched a Parent’s Guide to Safer School Supplies.
- I swear, everytime I read one of EnviroMom’s postings I feel like packing it in and moving to Portland. This one is no exception, with Renee writing about a wonderful local organization that consolidates the school supply lists and donates excess to charity. She also shares some of her hits and misses in shopping for eco-friendly items for back-to-school.
Eco-Friendly School Supplies, Waste-Free Lunch Tips and More: All in One Green Tips for Back to School!
Several of the @GreenMoms shared great round-up posts with tips for green back-to-school that include everything from healthy waste-free lunches to eco-friendly school supplies, to clothing, walking instead of riding, and more!
- Just when we’ve figured out what BPA is and what all those plastic # signs mean, we’ve got another strange substance to become familiar with: Microban. Read all about it here courtesy of Jennifer Taggert, the SmartMama.
- MC Milker from Not Quite Crunchy Parent includes Five Ways to Go Green for Back To School, including a wry look at her own version of “carbon offsets.”
- Tiffany from Nature Moms gives great tips on Eco Friendly lunch boxes and water bottles, including reviews of some of her favorites, as well as helpful tips for clothing, backpacks, and other school supplies that are kind to the environment.
- In “Going Back to School Green,” Leslie from Recycle Your Day shares her memories of how she prepped for back to school – back in the days when recycled paper was gray and cheaper than conventional paper! Plus, she shares plenty of more-up-to-date tips with us, including reviews of a few favorite products.
- And if you’re not sure your kid can master the art of returning bottles and containers, Diane of Big Green Purse has a “secret tip” for you, in addition to some great background information on why environmentally-friendly lunch boxes are so important. Check out “Lunch Boxes Should Be Safe and Environmentally Friendly” and learn about some of Diane’s favorite eco-friendly options!
- If you find that some of these eco-friendly lunch kits simply cost more than you’re willing to spend, check out “How to Pack a Cheap and Easy Waste-Free Lunch” where I share some of my favorite frugal green tips, from $1.99 for a big pack of recyclable brown bags to el-cheapo reusbale food containers.
School Supplies: End-of-Year Disposal Issues and a Quest for More Sustainable School Supplies
- In her post, “School Supplies are Environmentally Frustrating,” Anna Hackman of Green-Talk includes photos documenting how she laboriously disposes of school binders at the end of each school year. Inspired by both the Jumpstart Conference and by Beth Terry’s successful Take Back the Filter Campaign, Anna begins a quest to have Avery Dennison incorporate her feedback into their sustainable product development process.
The Edible Schoolyard: Kindergarten Edition
- Deanna from Crunchy Chicken shares “The Edible Schoolyard,” an encouraging tale of how a kindergarten class started an edible garden at her local elementary school.
Why It’s Worth Fighting to Keep Recess
- In “Recess Helps Kids Learn, Don’t Take It Away!” Katy Farber of Non-Toxic Kids shares her insights about why it’s important to keep recess a priority in the schools. One would think that the research on the benefits of healthy recess would be well understood by educators, but unfortunately it’s still not a priority in our nation’s schools.
Greening Your School: From Green Committees to LEED Certification, & Asbestos Abatement
- Tiffany from Mommy Goes Green shares “My Healthy School” – some great tips for working with your school administration to green your school.
- Yours truly (OrganicMania) shares five lessons learned trying to get a Green Committee off the ground at an elementary school.
- Melissa from Raising Them Green shares An Introduction to the LEED for Schools Rating System. I didn’t know that there was a special LEED certification just for schools, did you?
- The bloggy world is so crazy – I had to go to BlogHer to meet Jennifer from Puddle Jumping in DC – who just submitted a wonderful post about a certified green school, right here in Montgomery County, Maryland, where I live! I had no idea! Check out Jennifer’s post, which includes a wonderful video of a 5th grade girl discussing what it’s like to study at a green school.
- Jennifer, our Smart Mama, provides a heads-up about early warning signs of asbestos exposure in your school and provides us with some simple steps to reduce asbestos exposure.
Back to School: HomeSchooling Edition
- Of course, it’s dilemmas like the fight for recess that Katy described in her post that are pushing more and more parents to private schools and to homeschooling. Lisa Sharp doesn’t have kids of her own, but she was homeschooled and she shares some wonderful memories and tips for Green home schooling parents in her post, “Back to School: Home Schooling Edition.”
Tips for Green College Kids
- We’ve run the gamut from daycare to college. The kids have grown up, but we parents are still concerned with keeping ep them healthy and safe. Karen Hanrahan of Best of Mother Earth shares her tips for helpful herbal remedies for how to Keep Your College Kid Healthy.
- Lisa of Condo Blues shares ten tips for college students who want to go green. My favorite? Donate unused clothing, furniture, food, etc. before leaving campus.
About the Green Moms Carnival – We are a group of green women bloggers, united by our desire to protect and preserve Mother Earth. Once a month or so, we share our thoughts on a common theme, so that together our environmental messages are heard by more people than we could possibly ever reach on our own. You can read more about us here and you can subscribe to all our blog posts automatically through Twitter at @GreenMoms.
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