Top 3 Ecofriendly School Supplies

For many people, the end of summer coincides with heading back to school. Maybe school is practically your life essence, or maybe it’s the bane of your existence. Either way, you need back to school supplies, don’t you?

If you think about it for too long though, a lot of our school stuff doesn’t exactly qualify to be part of a closed loop economy. All the pens, pencils, notebooks, erasers, and whatnot tend to add up and have a pretty big impact on the environment. Problem is, ecofriendly people need stuff for school too. The good news is that more and more sustainable back to school stuff is becoming more easily available (don’t worry, there’s no bad news this time around), and we’ve got the 5 best ones for you.

P.S. don’t worry about what grade you’re in, weather it’s elementary school or university (or anywhere in between), because this list is applicable to all age groups and school years!

01. Backpacks


Backpacks are hands down the most essential thing for going back to school. Problem is that conventional backpacks are often made out of plastic, and can be produced with a shitload of chemicals. So if you want a less conventional and more sustainable bag, these are for you:

A Modern Tote Totes and canvas bags are the sustainable trend of the future (actually, also the present.) Rareform has bags made out of repurposed billboards (yes, it’s possible!) that are also big enough (and convenient enough) to fit all your disheveled papers and books..

Classic Backpack If you refuse to let go of the past and need an old school backpack, ecofriendly types are actually becoming more common than you might think. Treehugger has a dope list of their top 10 favorites, and Ebags has a huuuuuuge collection of their own.

02. Recycled Notebooks (and paper)


If you’re the type to only use things like your laptop or tablet/iPad, then you can totally skip this section and get yourself an ecofriendly laptop case, an accompanying bag, and/or a tablet case.

But for us oldies who still use paper products, it’s essential to avoid the typical unsustainable kinds:

Recycled Notebooks Something not often touched on about the recycling industry is that it’s a 2-way system. We need to recycle for sure, but we also need to buy recycled stuff. Guided has several pretty affordable recycled notebooks, but you can also find a buttload on EtsySilkletter, and Amazon.

Recycled Loose Leaf Paper If you’re more of a binder than a notebook person - well, first of all, you can set yourself up with a sustainable binder. After you’ve done that, fill that baby up with recycled loose leaf paper from On Time Supplies. If you’re an Amazondevotee though, they have some too.

BONUS! Zero Waste Pens & Pencils Sustainable notebooks and loose leaf paper is nice and all, but what’s the point if we’re using the same ol’ pens and pencils we always have? If you’ve still got some of your regular stationary lying around, obviously use it! But if you’re in need of new stuff, try to go for waste-free pencils and pens.

03. Lunchboxes


The lunchbox is a classic staple for surviving school - who has money to buy lunch everyday for the love of god?! Ahem, anyway, it’s definitely the easiest ecofriendly back to school item to get your hands on, but did you know you have a ton of options?

A lunch pale never goes out of style, and you can still pick them up at most stores that cater to families. But in case you’re only finding boxes with Frozen and Incredibles 2 designs (and that’s just not your aesthetic), you can also check out lunch bags or bento boxes:

Lunch Bags Lunch bags have historically been single-use brown bags, also known as the less classy/aesthetically pleasing item that always took second place to the lunch pale. But they’ve gotten a huge makeover in the 2010s, and not only in terms of being reusable! 

WAAMIndustries makes waxed canvas lunch bags that you can use over and over again and (frankly) out rank most lunch boxes in terms of looks. If you want to channel your inner kid (or you are a kid...or you’re shopping for a kid…), you can always go for the Fluf (not a typo) Organic’s cotton lunch bag in the POW!design instead.

Bento Boxes What’s nice about bento boxes is they’re compartmentalized, so you don’t have to worry about single-use plastic bags to keep all your food separated (unless you’re into PB&J and potato chip casserole - no judgement.)

Although they originally hail from Japan, bento’s are becoming more and more popular in the U.S. You can find them everywhere from Go Green Lunchbox to Eqo Living to PlanetboxECOlunchbox is also a popular choice, probably in part because they also have pretty awesome snack containers.

If you want a hella unique and contemporary bento though, check out these three-tiered, colorful AF Bento Colors boxes (totally not biased because of their looks or anything.)

BONUS! Reusable Utensils Whatever type of lunchbox or bag you end up getting, you’re gonna need a utensil set. To-Go-Ware has a bamboo set that includes a fork, knife, spoon, and chopsticks, all combined in one handy dandy pouch with a carabiner.

If you want a one-stop-shop for all of your environmentally friendly back to school needs, check out the online green company The Ultimate Green Store. If some of this stuff seems a little spendier than your usual (unsustainable) choices, it’s because they last WAAAAAY longer, so the upfront cost is gonna be a bit higher. But you’ll save money down the road! So with that being said, take the school year by the balls and #protectyourwild.


By Darian Williams, ALDA's Blog and Digital Marketing Specialist Intern