Back to School with Zero Waste: Easy Tips for an Eco-Friendly Year

Gloria Harrison
June 3, 2024

Some of us, as parents, like planning for the new academic year before departing on our well-deserved vacations.

As you know, we are the first international school in Brussels to get the Eco School Green Label; one small step toward adopting the "eco-school" attitude is to begin with school supplies! Practising zero waste for school supplies benefits the environment whilst also teaching crucial lessons in sustainability and creative thinking. 

Here's how you start the school year with a green footprint;

Before “BACK-TO-SCHOOL Shopping”, at home:

✅ I check the materials available: pencils to sharpen, pencil case to clean, 

binder to redecorate, papers to reuse as drafts... 

✅ I go around to family and friends to collect supplies that are no longer useful to them: gym shoes, sports bag, dictionary, textbooks…

✅ I identify or add to the list what allows me to reduce waste: a water bottle, boxes of toast, biscuits or fruit, cloth handkerchiefs

Before “BACK-TO-SCHOOL Shopping”, at the shop:

✅ I check what I can find in a second-hand store: books, clothes, sports equipment, computers… 

✅ I favour non-toxic products: perfume-free and solvent-free, water-based, vegetable colouring, varnish-free, etc. 

✅ I choose supplies that respect the environment: recycled paper, cardboard, wood and plastic… 

✅ I buy solid so that the material lasts longer.

✅ For snacks and picnics, I try homemade or buy in bulk.

Don’t forget to Educate and Advocate

Spread the word about zero waste practices. Share tips with classmates and teachers, and encourage your school to adopt more sustainable policies. Small changes can lead to a larger impact when the whole community gets involved.

Remember, at the start of the school year, everything is done To make you want to buy new stuff, this is a good opportunity to learn to differentiate between what you need and what you want!

Adopting zero-waste practices is a realistic and effective strategy to enhance sustainability. By reusing, recycling, and selecting eco-friendly solutions, we can lessen our environmental impact and set a good example for others. Let us make next school year not only successful but also sustainable!

What are your favourite zero-waste school-supply tips? 

A book fair, collective snack, clothing or equipment donation, zero-waste parties... With your support, the school can organize a host of Zero Waste projects.

Share your thoughts and encourage others to join the cause!

These suggestions were shared with us by Bruxelles Environnement  ZD03 « Le pense-pas-bête du Zéro Déchet»

June 6, 2024

Gloria Harrison

Bogaerts International School