Surprise! It’s back-to-school time. Well, that’s no surprise, but what is surprising are the lists of school supplies some school children are required to bring with them this year. Along with the ordinary backpack, pencils and paper, there are some supply requests that are shocking and expensive.
According to this Today show segment, some schools are asking their students to bring antibacterial wipes, zip lock bags, toilet paper, garbage bags, cotton balls, detergent, paper plates and paper towels and tissues. Yikes!
A recent New York Times article concurs, “Schools across the country are beginning the new school year with shrinking budgets and outsize demands for basic supplies. And while many parents are wincing at picking up the bill, retailers are rushing to cash in by expanding the back-to-school category like never before.”
Not only is it out of the ordinary to ask parents to provide such items, it’s downright eco-unfriendly to include them on a back to school list. What message are we sending our kids if one minute we’re saying the above items are harmful to the environment and the next their school is requiring them to stuff them in their backpacks the first day of school?
As a teacher, I can see how these items are helpful, but are they really necessary? These three items top the list for eco-unfriendliness:
Read Mel’s post about anti-bacterial soaps and this post about paper towels. Check out this alternative for paper towels from me. Dave’s article about plastic bags will convince you to keep the zip-locks out of the backpack. Here’s a great alternative for plastic sandwich bags.
What happened to green schools? Parents, have you been asked to provide such items? In the face of our environmental crisis, is it appropriate for schools to ask children to bring these items to school?