If I might channel my inner 15-year-old here, back to school time is all about getting it right: putting together the right outfit so it looks cool, but not like you spent as much time as you actually did putting it together; getting assigned the right homeroom with the right classmates; and a host of other things necessary to make the most out of the new school year.
Part of being cool these days has to do with the ever constant awareness of being socially responsible for our environment. Recycled products were not readily available back in my day, and ‘being green’ just meant being jealous. Obviously it means a whole lot more now and school supplies are no exception to the growing trend toward products that maintain their cool factor and give a nod to the environment. In fact, some companies are coming out with entire lines of green products that students can feel good about using – and parents can feel good about buying.
Big names like Pilot, Pentel, and Bic (OK, they’re big names to me – hey, I write a lot!) make several types of pens made of recycled materials. Pilot makes a “Bottle 2 Pen” ink pen that is made with 89 percent post-consumer recycled plastic bottles. Pentel makes several writing products that use recycled plastics. These include retractable ball point pens with 59 percent recycled plastic, yellow highlighters with 54 percent recycled plastic, and lead pencil refill cases that are 100 percent recycled plastic. Bic also makes a ballpoint pen made from 74 percent recycled materials.
And what about this great calculator? Canon makes it – and a range of others – from recycled copiers. I like to think of those huge machines being pulled apart and being put to better use fueling the angst of a thousand algebra students instead of being dumped in a landfill.
It’s not just high-school students, though, who can benefit from this trend toward more environmentally conscious school supplies. For the younger, craftier set, you can get everything from scissors to Crayola markers made with recycled plastic.
But let’s not forget the one thing as important as all these products put together: the right bag for carrying them. There are so many great choices from traditional backpacks to tote bags made from recycled materials. Although my own children are still much too young for schools supplies, I found myself perusing the back to school section of a local retailer recently and came awfully close to purchasing an adorable lunch bag with a reusable plastic ice cube block shaped like a frog. Never mind my oldest son is 2 ½ years away from entering kindergarten; who doesn’t like a frog that, just like many other recycled school supplies on the market now, is truly cool and green?