Sustainability And Back To School
Mums and Tots|Issue 32 - Autumn 2019
As a parent, how do you combine the school routine with the 6 R’s of sustainability – refuse, reduce, reuse, repair, recycle and rot?
Pat O'Kane

As a parent, how do you combine the school routine with the 6 R’s of sustainability – refuse, reduce, reuse, repair, recycle and rot?We all know that instilling good habits is easiest when they are still young so let’s make the most of this opportunity! As the kids return to school, here are some simple tips to encourage sustainable, healthy habits:

School Supplies

If you are out buying new supplies, make sure to buy school supplies with less packaging and seek those made with recycled and sustainably sourced materials. Always look for local options and invest in high-quality products that can be used for longer periods of time… or even passed onto that little sibling or cousin after a few years. Before I head out to the shops, I usually check if we already have a few school supplies hanging around – I often find something that can be used by my little man, like a few half-filled notebooks that can be re-purposed. By reusing instead of buying new, you’ll get the satisfaction of helping the environment and your pocket too!

School Uniforms

Kids outgrow clothing very quickly, so buying new clothes not only wastes a lot of money for very little value, but it also contributes greatly to environmental degradation from the oil-based synthetic fabrics to the toxic dyes potentially used to make them. In fact, the clothing industry is the second-largest polluter in the world, second only to oil (let that sink in for a few seconds). A great way to get new school clothes for free is to organize a clothing swap with family and friends. This concept is growing in Ireland with grown-ups swapping clothing and accessories they no longer want so why not replicate the same idea for school uniforms? You will save a few quid, have a fun day and get to meet other school parents.

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