Shopping for back-to-school products? Although chain office supply stores seem like go-to places to gather your gear, shopping at these places often results in long lines, out-of-stock products and trips to multiple stores. To help resolve these issues, the SaveOnEnergy.com® team has scoured this year's back-to-school items to find the coolest eco-friendly products and supplies that are not only available in stores but also online. Whether you're shopping for your children, home, work or dorm room, these eco-friendly alternatives are great for everyone going back to school.
Backpacks and lunch bags
When searching for the perfect backpack and lunch bag for this school year, be sure to shop with the planet in mind. The environmental costs of fabrics are high so buy a backpack or lunch bag made of a friendlier fabric to help our environment.
Lands' End. Lands' End is committed to sustainability and works to ensure all aspects of the business are focusing on ways to become even more environmentally friendly. The Lands' End tote is a great alternative to a traditional backpack. Its water- and rip-resistant base make this tote durable so it can be used year after year.
Milkdot. Milkdot creates contemporary, versatile, environmentally safe products that can appeal to all ages. "Milk" signifies something pure and nurturing and "dot" stands for the belief that small things can make a difference. Together, Milkdot stands to represent how an effort toward good, no matter the size, can bring growth and positive change for the future. One of Milkdot's leading products is the Top Kat backpack. These bright, modern backpacks are PVC-free, lead-free and BPA-free. Each Top Kat backpack is made of durable, water-repellant fabric and has many pockets, including an outside pocket for after-school snacks.
ECOlunchbox. ECOlunchbox aims to eliminate plastic at lunchtime to help our health and the planet. With packaging made from non-reactive and non-toxic stainless steel food containers, ECOlunchbox is helping reduce dependence on plastic items and making mealtime more environmentally friendly. ECOlunchbox conducted a lunch study and found that a typical family wastes about $400 on throw-away items and creates approximately 4,320 pieces of garbage at lunchtime every year. The Ecolunchbox Tri Bento is an alternative to a throwaway lunch bag. This three-piece stainless steel container is easy to use and is perfect for packing a trio of your favorite lunch foods.
Mighty Nest. All Mighty Nest products are natural, organic and free from toxic ingredients and harsh chemicals. The organic cotton lunch bags are just one of the eco-friendly bags Mighty Nest offers. These durable bags are perfect for lunch and come in a variety of colors and patterns. Each is made from 100 percent certified organic cotton and printed with low-impact, azo-free dyes, making them nice and safe. If you purchase the organic cotton lunch bag or any other Mighty Nest products, you are not only supporting a healthier environment but you are also supporting your school. Mighty Nest donates 15 percent of your order to your local school so be sure to check out all of its eco-friendly back-to-school items.
ECOBAGS. ECOBAGS produces quality bags at affordable prices with the goal of making reusable a way of life. The ECOBAGS canvas lunch bag has a Velcro-like closure and rope for easy carrying. Plus it's 100 percent recyclable. The recycled cotton canvas is the perfect blank slate for an arts and crafts project so turn off your television and get creative with your child or a friend.
Colored pencils, crayons, planners and other supplies are certainly necessary when shopping for the upcoming school year. Instead of buying the most common brands, look for these eco-friendly supplies to help brighten our environment.
Glob. GLOB makes some of the best eco-friendly art supplies, specializing in craft paints, natural face paints and Easter egg dyes made from fruits and vegetables. All GLOB paints are made with natural ingredients and organic extracts and come in a dry powdered format, saving weight, money and energy when shipped. Just add water and start painting your project! GLOB's face paint is the only natural, non-nano face paint on the market made with botanical extracts, natural colors and organic ingredients in sustainable packaging. This easy-to-remove face paint is perfect for performances, Halloween, fall festivals and is a creative, safe activity for your child during playdates.
Dolphin Blue. Dolphin Blue products are manufactured with a minimal carbon footprint. Its packages and labels are made using reused and recycled materials and are printed using only soy and vegetable-based inks. Not to mention they are 100 percent recyclable. Dolphin Blue's Ready-to-Go Academic Planners include weekly and monthly planning calendars and are made in the USA with 100 percent post-consumer recycled paper and soy ink. These planners are ideal for high school and college students and come in a variety of colors.
Eco-kids. Eco-kids is an environmentally friendly company that develops products using non-toxic, natural ingredients and packaging. Eco-glue is just one of many natural products that Eco-kids offers. It's handmade using rice flour, water, sugar, citric acid, corn starch, potassium sorbate and rosemary oil. The eco-glue is a safer alternative to the typical glue products found on the market and is perfect for putting together arts and crafts or DIY projects.
Stubby Pencil Studio. Stubby Pencil Studio offers quality, affordable, earth-friendly products for young children. Its soy crayons are a great alternative to traditional petroleum-based crayons. These biodegradable soy crayons are made with 100 percent renewable resources, including a unique soybean oil formulation, and do not include paraffin wax, toxic materials or lead. The soy crayons come in a box of eight colors, with the traditional red, orange, yellow, green, blue, violet, brown and black, or you can get them in packs of 16 or 24. These vibrant colors are smoother and flake less than ordinary wax crayons, making coloring even more enjoyable.
Made By Humans. Made By Humans specializes in making modern office and school accessories that can add a contemporary flare to any old desk. One of our favorite products is the company's staple free stapler. The ECO Staple Free Stapler Cubed is a modern take on the traditional office tool. The cube, which comes in seven different colors, has a sleek design that's perfect for school or home. Best of all, it's eco-friendly and child safe. The cube fastens up to four pages together without staples and eliminates unnecessary metal waste.
Guided. Guided manufactures and sells American-made products and supplies and provides creative packaging and printing services. Guided recycled notebooks have sturdy covers and are made with recycled paper, making them green inside and out. The notebooks and waterproof journals are available in various sizes and paper types making them great for writers, mathematicians, artists and those who just love to doodle.
Onyx and Green. Onyx and Green school and office products are made of mostly recycled and natural materials, helping to increase student and parent awareness for protecting the environment. These products use a variety of materials such as bamboo, stone and corn starch and biodegradable and natural fabrics such as jute and cotton. The two-hole sharpener, for example, is made out of bamboo. Make sure to add this durable product to your back-to-school shopping cart.
Three by Three Seattle. Three by Three Seattle home and office products re-create ordinary organizational products into innovative and efficient contemporary products you'll want to display on your desk. Three by Three Seattle has revamped the whiteboard industry with fresh, alternative dry erase surfaces such as bamboo, glass and stainless steel. The desktop dry erase to-do board is an easy-to-use alternative to paper and sticky notes. The bamboo to-do board is a top-selling product made with sustainably harvested wood from New Zealand. This product features a removable stand, allowing the board to be carried alone.
Green Apple Supply. Green Apple Supply offers affordable recycled products, making it possible for everyone to enjoy eco-friendly school supplies. One of its affordable products is the Ecology Naturals Index Cards. These index cards are made with 100 percent recycled fibers and 40 percent of the power used to produce the paper is from hydro power. This unbleached and acid free product is easier on the environment and useful for students to use when studying for exams.
Finding the right container to put your water, pens or snacks in can be difficult. Thanks to SaveOnEnergy.com you'll be able to find the handiest and greenest containers on the market!
Camelbak. Camelbak's mission is to reinvent and forever change the way people hydrate and perform. With this mission in mind, Camelbak creates products that impact people's lives and the environment in a positive way. The Camelbak eddy Kids bottle is perfect for your child during the school year. This spill-proof bottle is specifically designed for littler hands and comes in a variety of colors and patterns. Plus it's the perfect size for packing in backpacks and lunch bags. This easy-to-clean and child-safe water bottle is a must have.
TerraCycle. TerraCycle is more than just a recycling company. It strives to increase environmental awareness and action by offering school supplies that allow students to express their personalities while also caring for the environment. TerraCycle uses non-recyclable items to create affordable, eco-friendly products. TerraCycle's small drink pouch pencil case is one of these eco-friendly products. This reusable case is made from upcycled Capri Sun packaging, everyone's favorite pastime drink.
Itzy Ritzy. Itzy Ritzy supports parenting in style by creating a modern collection of baby/toddler and lifestyle accessories while being environmentally conscious. Snack Happens, a reusable bag for snacks and everything else, is one of Itzy Ritzy's most popular products. This product is perfect for snacks, toiletries, medicine, cosmetics, cellphones and can even replace your wallet to hold your driver's license and credit cards. These are the green alternatives to plastic bags and are machine washable for you to reuse and save money.
Ecomom. Ecomom extensively researches and tests all of its products to make sure they are healthy, safe and reliable. It promises that when you shop for your family, you can be sure every product choice from the company will be a safe one. One of its most-loved products is the Cereal on the Go container. With this container, you can keep your cereal separate from your milk. The milk will stay cold in the gel-filled cup and when you are ready to enjoy your breakfast just unscrew, pour and eat up! The lid even comes with a spoon so you don't have to pack one.
Bentology. Did you know that a single child can generate up to 67 pounds of trash per school year when using disposable packaging at lunch time? The Bentology team recognized this issue and created the first on-the-go, reusable bento box lunch system. With fun, bright colors and an easy-to-use system, Laptop Lunches bento-ware reduces the amount of waste headed for landfills. This kid-friendly product is easy to pack and perfect for packing nutritious meals!
For your dorm room or classroom
If you're looking to decorate your dorm room or classroom, be sure to check out these great products. Whether you're shopping for new bedding, storage spaces or an abundance of supplies, these eco-friendly options are hard to beat.
Coyuchi. Coyuchi products are inspired by nature and are designed for comfort and rejuvenation. The products are held to strict environmental standards and are made using only natural and pure fibers. The sateen sheets have a 300-thread count that resists wrinkling and is great for college dorm rooms.
Way Basics. Way Basics has a patented, eco-friendly manufacturing process that recycles paper to create zBoards, a durable and waterproof material. Way Basics sells tool-free, non-toxic, stackable storage cubes made from zBoard paperboard that are perfect for any space. These multicolor cubes are great for stacking and are fun to customize. This product is useful for all ages, however, these cubes are a great way for college students to save space and keep their dorm rooms organized.
Tree Smart. Tree Smart promotes the use of all natural resources and has been making rolled-up recycled newspaper pencils since 1998. These recycled newspaper pencils are perfect for teachers looking to buy supplies for their classroom. The teacher's saver set includes 144 pencils that are made from 100 percent recycled newspapers. Show your students it's important to be environmentally conscious and give them a recycled newspaper pencil on their first day back to school!