For an eco-responsible back to school

Eco-responsible back to school

You would like your family to go back to school eco-responsibly? Here are 5 eco-friendly ways to reduce the list of new supplies to buy.

The very first step will be to analyze the list of supplies provided by the school: what equipment can be reused from the previous year? What can we do ourselves? Can we find second-hand? Answering these questions will reduce the list of new supplies that can be very polluting (plastics, overpacks, disposable items, etc.).

1. SORT your supplies

Instead of following the endless back-to-school list to the letter, make an inventory of supplies that can still be used. Most supplies can be reused: scissors, ruler, binder, pencil sharpener, binder… The kit and pens just a little bit used don’t need to be replaced! Doing so will save you money.

2. THINKING about second-hand purchases

That’s it, you’re done sorting, and you’re still missing some things, that you really need for back to school. Why not opting for the second-hand purchase?

Schoolbag, calculator, pencil case, books, sports equipment… you will find treasures on Kijiji, social media marketplaces, or second-hand stores near you. Don’t forget hand-me-downs!

Need a computer or a phone? Buy your equipment refurbished, the devices are handled by experts!

3. PROMOTE sustainable purchasing ♻️

You’ve been sorting, finding some used things, but you’re still short supplies?

This is the moment to choose quality purchase that will last you as long as possible. Filing cabinets with reinforced corners, schoolbags, square and ruler made of wood or metal rather than plastic, can last for several years.

Choose refillable products, many of them available today: pen, marker, pencil… and even the refillable agenda! Always check that refills can easily be found 😉

Recycled paper and notebooks without plastic covers, but made entirely of paper or cardboard, are easier to recycle. Choosing spiral notebooks rather than those bound with glue is also a good choice for an eco-responsible new school year!

4. LIMIT packaging

Try to buy products with minimal packaging and those easy to recycle, such as cardboard.

Avoid overpacking by buying in bulk paper stores. Buying just the right amount will help avoiding unnecessary packaging.

If there is no bulk, buy in batches. It helps to reduce packaging and you can stock for the following years.

Bring your own bags to carry your supplies. This will help reduce plastic bags, which are a nightmare for sorting centres.

5. PREPARE a zero waste lunch box!
Zero waste lunch box

It is tempting, from a practical point of view, to buy overpackaged products or even to use disposable dishes. Let’s face it, lunch boxes are terribly full of single-use items.

Let’s take advantage of the new school year to adopt healthier and greener habits!

Avoid single-serve products that produce more waste (drinking boxes, yogurt, cookie bags, etc.). Bulk and/or large format foods are preferred, just transfer them to reusable containers.

One of the rules of zero waste is to say no to disposable, so no more plastic plates and utensils, we use the dishes we already have at home. You can also opt for a stainless-steel picnic set, they are often lighter. Don’t forget your washable napkins!

Of course, we chose a flask rather than disposable plastic water bottles.

We wish you all a great eco-responsible new school year!



Founded in 2001, Ricova is the most fully integrated Quebec company for its collection, sorting and recycling services for residual and recyclable materials. Recyclable and organic materials represent more than 70% of the materials it collects and transports in Quebec. Thanks to more than 20 years of experience in the field, Ricova is concerned about protecting the environment by supporting the most ecological solutions that allow it to optimize its operations and obtain more value for recycled materials.
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