Three Planet-Saving Back-to-School Tips

Even after all these years, when I think of back to school I think of new crayons – my very own box! This  news bulletin took me on a trip down memory lane AND made it a great green day for me.  How things have changed…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pima County, Ariz. (July 31, 2013)The Three R’s in a fresh new school year can mean much more than Reading, wRiting, and aRithmetic. Reduce, Reuse and Renew go a long way to smarten students up while saving the Earth’s natural resources – and saving parents money. Pick out a couple of ideas from the list below and see the benefits to your wallet, your child’s health, and the environment.

  1. Getting there can be lots of fun – Assuming you drive one mile to school and back twice  a day, you will put one pound of pollution into the air within two weeks.  If you idle for 10 minutes a day waiting to pick up your child from school, it’s not only the equivalent of driving five miles, but kids walking past breathe in the emissions. Reduce your vehicle trips by arranging carpools, taking the school bus, riding bikes, or even walking if school is close. A “WalkPool” is the hot new way to get to school, with a parent guide at the front and back of the group, keeping everyone in stride. It’s a great way to increase exercise, battle high obesity rates, get to know your neighbors better, and improve air quality.
  2. Reusable is the way to go. To reduce waste, use lunch boxes and cloth napkins, refillable bottles, pens and pencils, and rechargeable batteries. If you don’t like the taste of  tap water, consider purchasing a filter for your tap water and refilling a reusable bottle, rather than buying bottled water. Organize a clothes swap party with friends and neighbors to switch out clothes that no longer fit,  but are still in good shape.  Reuse backpacks from last year, and take care of them for use next year. When shopping for new school supplies look for and buy items made from recycled content.
  3. RenewPlant a tree. Celebrate the start of a new school year by planting a low water use tree to shade your home. You will use less energy to cool your home, provide habitat for birds and other creatures, enrich the value of your property, reduce carbon dioxide and other air pollutants, reduce storm water runoff and erosion, and have a special way to measure your child’s progress through school. Check out the  Trees for Tucson program through Tucson Clean & Beautiful to see if you are eligible for $8 trees.

Beth Gorman

Looking for more tips? Visit the PDEQ website for 51 Ways to Green the Earth to see if there are other actions you can take to save resources and help the planet. And for clean air tips and information, visit the Clean Air Starts with Me! webpage.

Mrs. Green’s final words – Beth manages the Public Outreach & Education division of the Pima County Department of Environmental Quality and enjoys encouraging everyone to add a little more green to their day.  And you can actually hear some of Beth’s words of wisdom – just one click away.  http://mgwwebhost.wpengine.com/2013/06/11/clean-air-starts-with-me-2/

Now that’s sustainable.