Preparing for the new school year presents a great opportunity for kids (and parents) to learn environmental lessons. During summer vacation, set aside school supplies that can be reused come September, including notebooks with blank pages, pens and pencils, and paper that was used only on one side (use the other side for scrap paper). Also, clean and repair backpacks for future use, and try to reuse or recycle electronic devices.

Before you shop, make a list of what you already have for the school year and buy only what you need, and in the store, choose paper, pens. and pencils with recycled content. Look for nontoxic products that aren’t sold with a lot of packaging, and explore ways to reuse the product packaging. Resale shops such as Goodwill now have office and school supply sections. Try organizing a school supply swap with local families. It could be the start of a fun annual tradition!