Back-to-school picks

The new school year is just around the corner! Make it a healthy and sustainable one with these reusable and non-toxic products.


Each year, the average American school kid discards 67 pounds of school lunch packaging. With 55.5 million students across the nation, that’s 3.7 billion pounds of trash each year! And that’s just food wrapping. Yikes.

A whopping 50 percent of the waste generated by schools is food and non-recyclable paper, both of which could be composted. Another 24 percent is paper and paperboard that could be recycled if adequate programs existed. Sadly, they’re still the exception rather than the norm in our schools.

So, what can the average parent do to reduce their child’s carbon footprint at school? The answer lies in moving away from disposable culture by choosing recycled, reusable and durable products.

Start by writing a list of back-to-school essentials and stick to it. Don’t let your kids convince you to buy popular, useless junk that will only end up in the garbage next week. Your best bet is to leave them at home when you go shopping or to buy everything online.

Opt for notebooks made from recycled paper and buy good-quality clothing that can be passed down to siblings or other family members at the end of the school year rather than thrown in the trash.

Most importantly, nix plastic bags and invest in reusable food containers. Not only do they reduce waste, they look super-stylish and even save you money in the long run. And there’s an added benefit to many of these products: they’re often made with higher quality, non-toxic materials that are better for your family’s health. What’s not to love?

The best reusable back-to-school products

These fantastic products are safe, non-toxic, innovative and stylish. They have the Tot trick of approval!

  1. Stasher Silicone BagMade of pure platinum food-grade silicone, Stasher is great for storing and even cooking food! It’s durable and easy to clean, so you can use it again and again. In fact, one Stasher can replace thousands of disposable plastic bags, so you can save money while you’re saving the planet!
  2. Cotton snack packs: These gorgeous Fluf Snack Pack Good Eats are made from 100% certified organic cotton and feature original illustrations printed with low-impact, azo-free dyes. With two snack packs per pack, you’ll be able to throw everything from sandwiches to snacks in them.
  3. Silicone snack bags: Say goodbye to plastic sandwich bags with this two-pack of Silikids’ Siliskin Reusable Snack Bags. Made from 100% food-grade silicone and BPA-free, they’re perfect for little lunchboxes. They’re even microwave and dishwasher safe!
  4. Lunch box: The STATE Bags Rodgers Lunch Box is fully insulated with a zip-around flap and fits perfectly inside any STATE backpack. For every STATE bag sold, one bag packed full of school essentials is donated to a child in need.
  5. Backpack: The fun and customizable OMY Coloring Backpack is the perfect accessory for girls or boys. Made with lightweight cotton with a cotton lining it features adjustable straps and a front flap with snap button closure. For best results use with OMY ultra-washable felt markers.
  6. Thermal food jar: Your little one will look forward to lunchtime thanks to this eye-catching Marcus & Marcus Thermal Food Jar. Not only will it keep food warm for five hours and cool for seven hours, it’s completely free of nasties such as BPA, PVC and phthalates thanks to its 304 stainless steel construction.
  7. Sandwich wedge: Turn that boring old tuna sandwich into a party in your child’s lunchbox with this colorful Marcus & Marcus Collapsible Sandwich Wedge. The best part is that it won’t leach any nasties into their food because it’s made from high-quality food-grade silicone.
  8. Pura Straw Bottle: The 11 oz straw bottle is the ideal bottle for Pre-K to early elementary school kids. Their 100% medical grade silicone straw top eliminates distracting drinking or lid removal noises of traditional bottles making them a teacher’s favorite!  With Pura, you can be sure you are getting the safest, BPA/BPS-free and toxin-free bottle on the market.