6 tips to make your back to school purchases more health, environmental, and labor friendly!

Posted by The Elves on 8/3/2012
6 tips to make your back to school purchases more 
health, environmental, and labor friendly! 

1. Buy paper products made from recycled paper. Look for those labeled with at least 25% post consumer recycled content. We throw away 18.4 millions tons of paper a year. While paper recycling is growing strong, (yah!) we need to focus on buying products made from recycled paper. Don’t even get me started on using toilet paper made from virgin paper! (ugh) http://www.epa.gov/osw/conserve/materials/paper/basics/index.htm 

2. Ditch the Microban. Pencils, scissors, protractors, erasers, etc. are all being made with Microban. While most people think this helps suppress the transmission of germs from kid to kid, it doesn’t! Microban is used to limit the growth of bacteria, mold, mildew on non-porous material to limit odors and stains. Having Microban in 250+ products does not keep us from getting sick, in-fact it may be creating super bugs, that may make us sicker. 

3. Look for clothes made in unionized USA factories, or Fair Trade, or from a reputable company, such as Hanna Anderson. No one wants to outfit their children in clothes made by other children or by forced (slave) labor practices. Yet many department stores, such as JCP, Bloomindales, Macy’s, Walmart, Sears and clothing lines, such as Nike, Gap, Guess, Disney, still buy from or use manufacturers that utilize the inhumane practices. 

here is list of some good companies 
http://www.charlierocket.com/home.html find at Zappos, Amazon, CWDKids 

4. Ditch the petroleum, lead, PVC, Bpa, Pthalates…. From school supplies, to lunch bags and backpacks, potentially harmful chemicals are everywhere. Switch from petroleum based crayons to plant wax based ones. Find VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) free highlighters, dry erase markers etc. Find lunch bags, baggies and backpacks made from recycled nylon materials and free of lead, Bpa, Microban, and other harmful chemicals. 

5. Pack smarter lunches! Ditch the hot lunch. EWW! Start packing lunches that are quick and healthy, so you know where your food comes from and what your kids are eating! Think outside the sandwich. Try hummus and crackers, carrots, a homemade cookie and WATER. Or how about refried beans and organic tortilla chips or tortilla, apple slices, a natural fruit snack pack and WATER. Typically kids have only 10-15 minutes to eat, so pack quick lunches and snacks that fuel them instead of make them sluggish and sick. Try to always use reusable containers

6. Hand sanitizer does not = healthy! While hand sanitizers can come in handy. Good old-fashioned proper hand washing is the best way to stop the spread of germs. Encourage your child’s class to get in the habit of hand washing before snack and lunch, after sneezing/picking noses, and after using the bathroom! Make sure that your kids soap both at school and at home is just that, soap. Antibacterial soaps made from chemicals such as Triclosan not only create super bugs, when mixed with chlorine in the water (most treated water has it) it creates a carcinogen, affects the thyroid gland, and it is toxic to aquatic life. It can be found not only in soap and hand sanitizer, but toothpaste, deodorant, and toys, and more.