A Guide to Sustainable Back-to-School Supplies

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At the end of a back-to-school shopping trip, it’s hard not to walk away with a basket full of plastic that will surely end up in a landfill. Not to mention all of the paper products and other items that may not contain any recycled materials.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. There are more sustainable back-to-school supplies hitting the market every year. In this guide, we’ll show you some eco-friendly school supplies you may want to consider this year. 

Sustainable Writing Utensils

More and more students use computers, but old-school writing tools will never go away. Here are a few sustainable writing options that are less wasteful and more eco-friendly than standard writing instruments:

Sprout Pencil

These plant-based pencils double as non-GMO seed capsules. Once you wear the point down to a nub, you can plant it instead of throwing it out.

Packs of Sprout pencils come in a mix of fruit, flower, and herb seeds. So, you can grow everything from cherry tomatoes to thyme to daisies once your student is finished with their pencils.

Yoobi Pencil Highlighter

Pencil highlighters are an excellent replacement for plastic, ink-filled highlighters. This easy swap works as well as traditional highlighters but with less waste.

Sustainable Paper & Notebooks

Of course, to use the products that they write with, students need products that they can write on. Here you can opt for sustainable solutions as well:


This supplier sells paper, journals, and notebooks that are 100% tree-free. Their offerings are made from agricultural waste, such as banana fibers and coffee leaves. EcoPaper’s products are also acid-free and biodegradable.

Decomposition Notebook

A twist on the classic composition book, these eco-friendly notebooks are made with post-consumer waste recycled paper. This means 100% of the paper in the notebook comes from other paper products people have already used such as books, magazines, and food cartons.

Decomposition Notebooks also feature soy ink. Soy ink is considered environmentally friendly because it’s biodegradable, cheaper to produce than petroleum-based ink, and is easier to remove during the recycling process. 

Other Sustainable Back-to-School Supplies

Check out these other green products that may be useful this school year:

Plus Paper Clinch

Attaching paper together doesn’t require wasteful metal staples anymore. The Paper Clinch looks like a regular stapler, but it simply folds the pages together (up to five at a time). It’s easy to use, eco-friendly and also lets papers lay flat, so students won’t have to deal with raised staples when they file or stack papers.

Onyx and Green Glue Stick

Onyx and Green’s glue sticks are plant-based, non-toxic, and made with recycled plastic tubes. If that wasn’t enough, even the packaging is eco-friendly. It’s made with recycled materials and printed with soy ink.

Better World Books

There are plenty of options when you need to purchase books for school. Better World Books stands out as a supplier that’s particularly concerned about the environment, as they never throw out any of the books in their inventory. If they can’t sell a book, they recycle it.

Better World Books also gives their customers the option to purchase carbon offsets at checkout. These offsets help fund renewable energy projects in order to balance out the waste that shipping generates.

With these zero-waste and sustainable back-to-school supplies, you can prepare your kids for another year of learning and help protect the environment at the same time.