Reduce Waste for School

School activities can leave us with a lot of waste – used paper, broken crayons, old pencils, ripped book bags, snack packages. There’s a lot of opportunity here for us to reduce our waste by reusing supplies, making smarter choices, repairing broken or torn items, using both sides of the paper before we recycle it, using durable containers for lunches, and more.
The back to school season is stressful. There’s a schedule to readjust to, school supplies to buy, shoes and clothing to replace. Here are some tips to help you save money and reduce waste in your back to school routine:
Don’t overbuy.
Before you head off to the store to fill that school supply list, take a look through your closets, desks and supply boxes at home to see what supplies are left over and still usable from the previous school year. When you do go to the store, don’t be tempted to buy more than you need.
Purchase recycled.
Look for products that are made of recycled materials. But, also check the durability of your recycled school supplies. They may seem more green, but if they are not made to last, you’ll end up purchasing more, which really isn’t saving resources.
Repair what you have.
Do we really need a new backpack or book bag every year? What about a new coat? Yes, it is exciting to have something new and bright, but if you just have a small hole or broken zipper, it can easily be repaired and reused, saving you money and saving resources.
Swap, sell and shop smart.

  • It’s inevitable. Somehow all that sun seems to make our kids grow at least 4 inches over the summer, leaving their shoes too small and their pants too short. Rather than feeling the pressure to buy new, consider some other options.
  • You can often find great deals at thrift stores, flea markets and consignment shops. There are several great places in the Gorge.
  • Organize a clothing swap among your friends. You can pass on those too-short jeans to another grateful parent, and your child could end up with Justin Bieber hoodie or a Star Wars t-shirt.
  • Before rushing out to buy new soccer or football cleats, check with your local coach or youth sports association. They often have gently used athletic gear that still has lots of life in them. And don’t throw your child’s old gear away. Give it to your local youth sports association or thrift store. Someone will really appreciate those free cleats, rather than shelling out $30 for a brand new pair.

Drive less.
The line of cars waiting to drop their kids off at school every day can be crazy. Rather than four cars from your neighborhood driving to and from school every day, meet up with the other parents and arrange a carpool, taking turns toting the tots. You’ll use less gas, save money, and maybe even gain an extra hour for yourself over the course of the week. If you live close enough to the school to walk, arrange a “Walkpool,” with parents taking turns chaperoning a group of kids from your neighborhood on foot. You’ll all get some great fitness benefits out of it, while saving gas and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Make lunch smarter and more durable.
The morning rush is harried, right? We do a lot of things to make it easier. Many of us buy prepackaged meal items for our children’s lunches to help save time. We use hundreds of plastic baggies each year. We go through 10 or more drink pouches or boxes a week. That is a lot of trash. So, rather than packing a brown paper bag every day, with each item wrapped in separate baggies, invest in a lead-free lunchbox, snack-size reusable plastic containers, cloth napkins, and a thermos. Send metal utensils, rather than throw-away plastics. Just by eliminating all that daily wasted plastic and paper, your child could save 67 pounds of garbage a year.
Involve your kids in the decisions, and help them understand why your family is making smarter choices for yourselves and the environment. They are great advocates.

Did you Know?

It takes 400 years for a plastic sandwich baggie to decompose?


Upcoming Events

2018 Household and Small Business
Hazardous Waste Collection Schedule


Hood River
February 23, 9am-2pm
May 18, 9am-2pm

The Dalles
February 24 18, 9am-2pm
May 19, 9am-2pm

April 14, 10am-2pm – Maupin
April 21, 10am-2pm - Parkdale
May 4, 10am-2pm - Moro
May 5, 10am-2pm -  Dufur
Ag Events
May 4, 10am-2pm - Moro
October 31, 10am-2pm – Hood River
November 1, 10am-2pm – The Dalles

Click here for full listing and more info
about our 2018 Hazardous Waste Events.