Sustainably Back to School
For many of the parents out there the long awaited return to school is upon us. It is a heavily anticipated day in our household. The kids are keen as mustard and to say that I am keen too, would be a bit of an understatement. In previous years I had often got to this time and not made much progress for pack to school plans at all- thanks to working full time and getting little to no leave in the summer school holidays.
Now that I have a little more time and a lot more bandwidth to make plans I have been able to start the prep for back to school in December when the kids started their holidays.
This started with an assessment of their stuff that came home. I had a look at what the situation was with their drink bottles, and lunch boxes as well as uniform and all of the stationary items that they still had in their possession.
With both kids looking like they were about to have a growth spurt at the start of the holidays I was sure that waiting until just before school for a top up of uniform items was going to be the best option, and indeed that has been the case with the youngest of the family having jumped more than a clothing size since last year. I have also checked the uniform pieces to see what can be stored from the older child's uniform for when it fits the younger. This is now washed and put away in the not quite yet draw that he has for his siblings old clothes waiting for him to wear.
Thankfully the drink bottles that both of them were using from last year- stainless steel ones are still in super condition. They both got a good clean and are ready to be put to use next week. The lunch boxes- not so much. We did not invest in metal lunch boxes for the kids last year as we needed something easy to open and with compartments as the kids are both grazers and we wanted to be fully nude with our food. The lunch boxes are still usable and we will continue to use them at home but they are not going to manage to keep food secure for transits to and from school. So we have invested in stainless steel ones. I am expecting that we will get many years out of them as they are large enough for an adult amount of food- so hopefully the soon to be teenager will be adequately fuelled from the contents and the younger one has room to grow into his- it means I can put silicone muffin cases or smaller containers inside to separate his food still.
The unused or still usable stationary that came home was epic this year. I think in part to their being a fair bit on the list for last year and also the older one being good at not loosing things last year. I have gone though all of the pens, pencils and markers and the ones that don't work have been added to the TerraCycle box or the compost depending on what they were. When the kids are back to school I am going to do a bit of an audit of this stuff and some I will add to the pencil and marker buckers we have at home and the rest I am planing on sending to GiveWrite an organisation who collects stationary items for kids in need. They need to work- but don't have to be brand new.
We also reuse the book covers that are still in good shape as they often can have a few years of use and if they are not the vinyl type we recycle in the RedCycle soft plastics when they are no longer usable.
Any of the unused or partly used exercise books have been converted to drawing books for home as we use a lot of paper with the kids being avid little artists. In the end this paper is either recycled or shredded for our chickens nesting boxes and then composted.