Back to school sustainable tips & essentials

It’s been a long ol’ summer. But the end is nearly in sight – crispy leaves on the ground and a chill in the air signals the imminent return to school for kids.

And with that, a collective sigh of relief from parents across the country who’ve had to entertain their little tornadoes of terror for Six. Whole. Weeks. 

If you listen closely on the first day back in September, you can hear audible cheers of joy resonating from thousands of households. It’s quite magical, really, like one of nature’s inevitable acts of beauty.

But before all of that, there’s still the small matter of getting them ready for the big return. Have you thought about the impact on the planet school supplies can have? There’s a lot of plastic in pencil cases and such, so are there more sustainable solutions out there?

Of course there are, that’s why you’re here, isn’t it? It’s in the title. We could’ve started with that sentence first, but that wouldn’t be very good storytelling, would it?

Here are some school essentials and top tips to set up the return of school sustainably.


Plantable Pencils and planet-loving pens

Around 82,000 trees are chopped down each year to create pencils, with each tree yielding around 170,000 pencils. That’s too many trees, if we’re being honest. 

Instead of going down the traditional pencil route, try out an eco-friendlier option. You can now buy pencils and pens made from recycled CD cases, newspaper and even grass. 

Sprout pencils are made from sustainably harvested wood, 100% natural clay and graphite. But the best part? Once they’ve been used, you can plant them and grow your own little green buddy! Each pencil contains a seed capsule, so just stick in the soil, water and watch your previous pencil turn into a glorious plant!

Plastic-Free Period Pants

The WUKA School Set was created to ensure a stress-free period for students.

We believe that periods should hold no teen or tweens back from achieving great things in life. No stress, no leaks, no odour.

Mums like it, students love it more! A small and beautiful handmade wash bag all the way from Nepal to carry the second spare pair of pants when at school,  or travelling anywhere else.

Choose from 2 period pants in your choice of absorbency and make sure your teens head back to school with confidence and comfort. 

Walk to school!


If it’s safe to do so and it’s not too far, you should encourage your child to walk or even bike to school. 

Not only will this give them a burst of exercise first thing, preparing them for a day of learning maths, it’ll also keep your household carbon emissions as low as possible.

Jumping in the car for a short journey is super easy, but the impact it’s having on the planet is becoming evident.

So slip their trainers on and send them out of the door for a stroll. It also means you get a bit more free time in the morning…


Non-SUP Water Bottle

We all know the effect which plastic bottles are having on our lovely planet, we should probably teach our kids about it too.

A much more sustainable solution to reduce single use plastics (SUPs) is investing in a quality, reusable water bottle for your little’un.

Try to go for a bottle with a strong seal to combat the inevitable leakage caused by a thrown backpack, as well as something that’s dishwasher safe to save you from more work. This Blafre is one of our faves!

Just fill it up before they leave to keep them hydrated throughout the day.


Waste education

Make sure your kids take only food that they’ll eat during the day, that way you’re reducing any food wastage as much as possible.

However, if they don’t manage it, teach them the benefits of recycling packages and composting food. A number of schools have adopted recycling programmes, and some even have school gardens with compost bins.

If we teach them as early as possible, they’re more likely to continue looking after the Earth as they get older!

Plastic-Free Lunch Bags

Speaking of lunch…

A lot of lunch boxes are made of planet-polluting plastic, so opt for a lunch bag instead!

You can buy organic cotton lunch bags which are insulated and super compact. They’re washable, reusable and Earth-friendly and eliminate the need for disposable plastic bags and wrap. This one from &keep is lovely!

You could even just reuse a Tupperware box or old ice cream tub as a great way of utilising what you have, rather than buying new.

While it’s important for parents to take the initiative in teach younger ones the ways of being more eco-friendly, it’s equally as important for kids to develop habits of their own.

Set a good example and give them the option to do better for the Earth, let them know why and how it helps and teach them the importance of being sustainable.

And if they ask more questions, tell them to come to us. We have a certain black and white panda bear called Colin who might be able to assist…



Team Cheeky Panda x

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