Sustainability tips for kids at school

Transforming your approach to living a more sustainable life has many layers, one of which is the habits you have around your child's schooltime footprint. Easily deprioritised as they're away from you and your home, but if you pledge to make a conscious effort to change your behaviour and habits, you and your child will be making a big difference to the environment.

So much so, that just tweaking certain habits you already have will build up to make a huge difference to the planet. Including small changes such as giving your children homemade lunch instead of shop bought options. Not only ideal for cutting down on the supermarket's carbon footprint, as well as single-use plastic wrapping, home-cooked food is healthier and cheaper to make than processed meals and snacks.

You can also provide their lunch in an environmentally friendly lunchbox and a re-useable water bottle. Read more about the eco-friendly options available to you and your child's school day below.

Let's do lunch

Rather than filling your children’s lunch box with shop-bought items, you can avoid all that packaging and waste by making their lunches. Get the kids involved in making and baking and turn it into a fun activity. You can make food in bulk and freeze it, ready to be added to the daily lunch box each morning.

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Think outside the lunchbox

While there’s not necessarily anything wrong with a sturdy, long-lasting plastic lunch box, if you’re curious about moving on from plastic, it’s easy to find lunchboxes made from stainless steel complete with fork, bamboo and cotton. There are also plenty of alternatives to shrink-wrap and throwaway plastic sandwich wrappings, including machine-washable, reusable fabric wraps, plastic-free silicone and beeswax. Check out trash plastic for more ideas on cutting back.

Drink responsibly

Rather than adding a small plastic bottle of water or juice to the lunch box each day, invest in a refillable bottle. Not only do they just need a quick wash before being reused the next day, but they can keep a drink cool or warm for several hours. Not that it’s just the bottle you should think about, but what you put in it – for example, why spend money on bottled water, when you can simply refill with perfectly good water from your tap. And while we’re talking drink, there are also steel and paper alternatives to plastic straws easily available.

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Walk or cycle to school

Rather than adding to the queues of cars snaking through local streets on the way to school, why not try walking instead? Or, if the school is a little too far for that, you could turn the journey into a daily family bike trip. You might want to brush up on your cycling skills by taking everybody on a Bikeability Course first. Both may take a bit longer, but they might also help to make you feel a little fitter, too. Plus, the more parents that adopt human-powered transport, the fewer cars there will be on the road and the safer the roads will become for people.

Check supplies before you buy

Before heading to the shops to stock up on exercise books, pens, pencils and rulers as the start of a new school year looms, take a look around your home, and in school-bags, to see what you already have. You may be surprised by how much unused stationery you own. And if you do need to buy more, make a list before you go shopping and stick with it. We all know how full of temptation a stationer can be.

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Did you know?

1kg

of paper uses more energy to make than 1kg steel

3

hours of TV can be powered by an aluminium can

26m

tonnes of waste is created by UK households each year