As kids get older and further along in school, they need more supplies. Mine are in elementary school, with one homeschooling, and so don’t need much in the way of supplies this year. That’s not going to last. Kids in high school and college in particular need more supplies.
Older kids and young adults are often best served by having their own computer, especially if they’re going to college away from home. It’s a big advantage to not need to use the library computers or wait for the family computer to be available.
Laptop computers use much less energy than desktop computers. Look for Energy Star certified laptops to find the most efficient models. Also pick Energy Star printers and other accessories the laptop may need.
What student of any age gets by without a backpack? Most students carry them, and too often only use them for a year if you don’t pay attention to quality.
Buying a good quality backpack with the goal of using it for more than one year is a good green step. Look for backpacks made from recycled or organic materials.
Eco Friendly Writing Supplies
Look around for eco friendly writing supplies. There are a few brands that make eco friendly pens and pencils.
Get a Bike
Once kids are old enough, encourage them to bike or walk to school. Same for college students. Not only will they save on gas, but biking to college classes rather than driving means not having to buy a parking permit. You may need to rent a bike locker for storage, however.
Buy Dorm Decorations Used and Locally
When kids go off to college, there’s a huge temptation to ship them off with a ton of supplies to decorate and otherwise set up their rooms. Better is to help them buy dorm room supplies locally, used if you can find thrift shops in the area.
This can be a hard sell, as there are usually roommates to deal with, and no student wants to look like they can only afford thrift store stuff. But sometimes you can find things that no one will know came from the thrift store, which can help to soothe your college student’s needs.
Besides, there’s almost a tradition of college students decorating with some really odd stuff. Thrift stores can help you get a start on that.
The mini fridge is a classic feature of the dorm room. It’s great if a shared one can be negotiated with roommates, but that often leads to battles over whose food is whose, and so many students just prefer to keep their own.
Once again, go for Energy Star.
Having a fridge means there’s going to be some cooking going on in that dorm room, at least in a microwave. Microwave cooking isn’t the healthiest of ways to go, but dorms usually limit what can be used in the rooms.
Dishes and other supplies for cooking the food in are a great target for the thrift stores. You don’t need anything fancy for dorm room food.
Make sure your student knows how to do laundry when he or she goes away to college. Otherwise they’re either going to suffer in the laundry room or keep hauling it home, which isn’t very efficient.
Encourage your student to use eco friendly laundry detergents such as Country Save, Method or Biokleen.
It’s always fun to send a care package to your student a few weeks in. Find out what your student needs, and send along eco friendly versions, along with some fun treats.