These nontoxic biodegradable pencils will sprout when you plant them. From

Aug. 22, 2019

Going back to school is a perfect time to share our love of the planet with our kids. Choose earth-friendly school supplies so that the younger generation gets a lesson in green along with their math and geography. Here are some eco-friendly options we found:

Onyx Green School KitECO SCHOOL KIT

Start your student off right with this Eco School Kit ($32.99 at Amazon) that includes a Stone Paper Notebook made of real stone, recycled from construction site debris, three retractable pens made from recycled milk cartons, 10 pencils made from recycled newspaper, three erasers made from recycled rubber, plus a double pencil sharpener with casing made from 100 percent bamboo – all packed in a reusable burlap linen bag. The products are created by Onyx and Green, known for their eco-friendly office and school supplies. Other choices include a 12-pack of Colored Pencils made with recycled newspaper ($6.99), and 3-pack of Mechanical Pencils made from recycled water bottles ($6.08). All packages are recycled and printed with soy-based ink. Amazon offers many other eco-friendly school supplies.

Sproutable pencilsSPROUTABLE PENCILS

These amazing pencils actually grow plants when they become too short to use. Simply insert the nubby pencil into soil and watch it sprout! Pack includes eight biodegradable and non-toxic graphite pencils tipped with seed capsules for growing herbs such as basil, flax and thyme (varieties vary). What a great way to teach your child that nothing should go to waste! $17.99 at

Bentology lunch kitBENTO BOX MANIA

The Japanese art of lunch packing is rising in popularity, partially due to handy compartmentalized kits called bento boxes. Office Depot offers several colorful and fun choices such as this delightful Llama pattern, by Bentology. Two containers inside help keep food fresh and squish-free. Front pocket holds snacks and side pouch can fit most reusable bottles. Includes matching ice pack. Lunchbox is fully insulated and washable. Bento containers are phthalate-free, BPA-free, lead-free and PVC-free. $19.99. Mate up with an Insulated Stainless Steel Water Bottle, made by Ello, $14.99. Keeps drinks cold for up to 24 hours. Both at Office Depot around town or

Pack It freezable lunch bagFREEZABLE BENTO BAG

If your kids complain that their “cold” sandwich is warm by the time that they can eat it, grab a Packit Bento Container & Bag and you’ll be the coolest parent in town! Freeze the entire bag and everything inside will stay chilled for up to 10 hours. Features a patented gel liner that stays in place over the entire surface of the bag. PVC and BPA free, it slips easily into backpacks. Other sizes and styles available. Style shown is $19.99 at Bed, Bath & Beyond.


Single use plastics have been the bane of this planet’s existence – but now there are choices that minimize negative impact. Check out Full Circle’s Reusable Sandwich and Snack Bags in colorful patterns. $6.99-7.99/2 pack at Container Store and Target. You’ll also love Open Nature’s plant-based zippy bags. Offered in snack-sized to quart-sized, they are tough enough to be used multiple times and then composted when they wear out. From $2.99-$3.99 per 20-30 pack at Albertson’s and Tom Thumb. Bright and inexpensive are Lunchskins (pictured), similar to the wax paper bags that we had as kids – only $4.99/50 pack at Target. Simply discard them into your compost heap after use. Great for birthday party goodie bags too with their shark and apple patterns! Lunchskins also makes reusable sandwich bags in fabric similar to food storage used in bakeries and restaurants. Lots of fun patterns and colors. $6.99 at

Eco Ditty lunch bagDolphin Blue offers Eco-Ditty Sandwich Bags in 100 percent organic cotton. Nifty designs for kids and adults, they can be washed and re-used hundreds of times! On sale for $12.37 at


In addition to a variety of resuable food containers, Eco Lunchbox carries utensils in sustainable materials, including sporks and straws in stainless steel, bamboo and glass. Pictured, set of 6 bamboo straws and cleaning brush ($20).

Zebra Sarasa Eco PenECO PENS

Tired of buying new pens when your kids lose theirs? The Zabra Sarasa Eco Pen features a hefty clip that stays put on backpacks, binders and even thick textbooks. Made from 81 percent recycled plastic, the ink flows easily onto paper without being messy. Comfort grip and retractable tip. Made in Japan and built to last, your youngsters will love them and you’ll want a few for yourself. $1.80 each at Also Dallas-based features the Pilot B2P (bottles to pens) ball-point pens, made from recycled water bottles ($21.27/12 pack).


Your older student can study on the go with a Saunders Recycled Aluminum Antimicrobial Redi-Rite Portable Desktop ($41.85) sold by local eco-friendly retailer Extra-large clip holds up to 1-inch thick notebook paper or notepad. Bottom-opening storage tray has 1.5-inch capacity for paper and other supplies. Built-in pencil tray is super-handy. Self-locking latch keeps lid tightly closed. Made from 60 percent post-consumer recycled aluminum to be lightweight and yet last virtually forever. Great for teachers too! Recycled plastic and aluminum clipboards also available. Check out for all things office. 


Your high school and college-age offspring will get years of use with a tough backpack made from REPREVE fabric (recycled water bottles) and Egyptian blue heather polyester by Pika.  Large enough to hold a laptop and tablet in its padded sleeves, pack includes several organizer pockets for scads of supplies. Reflective piping edges a water-resistant exterior – it’s great for travel too. $69.99 at


Your kid will be the envy of all when they sport an awesome tote bag made from Capri Sun drink pouches. Help them make a statement about minimizing waste while carrying everything they need in this 11-inch-by-15-inch shoulder bag. Lunch bag and backpack also available, made by TerraCycle, known for recycling hard-to-process materials. TerraCycle helps to divert tons of waste such as juice pouches, yogurt containers, and automotive parts from landfills and turns them into useful products. Your child’s school can even become a collection point and earn points towards free products. Visit TerraCycle to find out more. Tote bag is $14.99 at

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