Now that the new school season is beginning, I would like parents to advocate for school uniforms. From an eco-friendly perspective, school uniforms are great! You have minimal clothing purchases for your children during the school year and there is a lack of clothing peer pressure since everyone is wearing the same uniform. Also, similar to our local cub scouts organization, you can organize a "hand me down" ceremony at the end of the year for gently used uniforms to be passed on to the next group of youngsters.
A number of public schools have adopted a school uniform policy (which I fully support) and it makes so much sense.
I am not advocating for school uniforms due to its' effects on academic performance (which so far, there has not been any definitive study that suggests its' impact). I am advocating for school uniforms because of it's eco-friendly impact and inherent cost savings for families with children. Imagine saving hundreds of dollars from children clothing purchases and re-investing that towards your children's educational pursuits.
To support exploring school uniform policy at your local elementary school, you can reach out to the Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) and get a sense of what the active parental leaders support, then with the PTA support, you can propose the policy to the school administration (e.g. principal).
Parents are preparing to send their kids back to school. A number of parents stock up on new school supplies for their children before the beginning of the school year. Instead of having gently used school supplies scattered around the house or collecting dust in the attic, basement or garage, consider donating the gently used school supplies to your children's classroom. A number of parents are embarrassed to offer used school supplies but the reality is, a number of teachers are more than happy to take the opened box of crayons and partially used erasers off your hands.
The following is a list of school supplies that are always in demand at schools:
- # 2 pencils
- crayons (the status of the box container is irrelevant)
- plastic folders
- plain 8.5 x 11 reams of paper
- glue / glue sticks
- paper bags
- tape / tape dispenser
Eco-friendly items to always keep in the trunk of your car
How many times have you drove up to the supermarket parking lot and remembered that you “forgot” to bring your recycled shopping bags? The following is a list of “must pack” items that you should always keep in your trunk of your car before you leave your driveway.
1) Recycled Shopping Bags – great for supermarket shopping and clothing shopping as well. Refuse to take that GAP, OLD NAVY , ANN TAYLOR LOFT or other brand name shopping bag, instead use your own.
2) Empty and Cleaned Pyrex Storage Containers – bring these containers with you the next time you go to a restaurant and refuse to take the non-eco-friendly plastic doggie bag/container home. Instead, use your own container.
3) Filled Water Bottles – Stop making impulsive drink purchases by having a filled water bottle in your car before you start your trip. You will save money and the environment.
4) Clothing Hangers – Always have some clothing hangers ready in your car trunk so you can bring them to your dry cleaners and have your newly dry cleaned clothes hanging from your own hangers (don’t take those metal hangers with you).
5) Loose Change/Coins Container – Always have a loose change/coins container in your car and make sure you use them for small purchases. The average American loses over $50 a year in loose change by misplacement or dropping the change in transit to their destination.
6) Notepad/Pen – Use the notepad/pen to track purchases (e.g. gas and other small purchases). You can avoid printing unnecessary receipts and de clutter your car. The next time you are given an option, decline having a gasoline receipt and jolt down the amount you paid in your notepad instead.
7) Colored Pencils/Notepad – Have a set of colored pencils and notepad handy for each of your children stored in the car, encourage them to entertain themselves by drawing pictures or planning the next family trip. This enables you to avoid “throwaway” toys and impulsive purchases at supermarkets or grocery lines.
8) Extra change of clothes and jacket - For seasoned parents, this suggestion is a no-brainer. Kids make a mess and tend to get their clothes dirty so have a spare set of clothes for each child so you don't have to worry about impulsive clothing purchases if the weather suddenly changes on you.
Instead of paying for costly services, you can consider exchanging services or engaging in a barter system. For example, when you want tax advice you can obtain some free advice from a friend who is an accountant and in exchange for his or her advice, you can offer your services (e.g. lawn mowing, hair styling/cutting, etc.). There are a number of online barter systems that award points among different individuals in local areas that are interested in such exchanges. If you are wary of entering such a system, you can always find out whether there is any local interest by posting information at your local library.