Friday, September 23, 2016

October 2016 Green Tips: Back to School/Halloween

By Jessica Sanchez, Sustainability Office Education & Outreach Team Coordinator

Sometimes, the most sustainable option is also the most enjoyable, and this is certainly the case for the new school year approaching and Halloween. With the new season and one of the most festive holidays approaching, keep these tips in mind to make the most of your weekend and can save you money, and help the environment!

Safe and Sustainable Routes to School 
Instead of driving alone, start a carpool, bike train, or group walk! You'll each save time, energy, and fuel.

Healthy Meals 
Sometimes with our busy work or school schedule, we don't give ourselves enough time to prepare meals. This may lead to purchasing food to-go, which involves packaging waste. Before you spend your money and contribute to adding more garbage to our landfills, take some time to get up earlier than usual to prepare your meals for the day. Use reusable containers to pack and store your meals. Having breakfast, lunch and dinner are essential meals you need in order to maintain your body with enough energy for the day.

Buy Smart or Reuse Your Supplies!
School supplies can be expensive. Check out a local thrift store or dollar store to buy some neat school supplies. Thrift stores often have awesome and unused school supplies for really, really cheap. If you happen to have supplies from previous years, try to reuse those supplies. This can save you tons of money and reduce your waste.


Celebrate Halloween, go green! 
Did you know that many costumes sold in stores contain toxic chemicals like PVC and phthalates? Gross! Instead, be creative by making your own costumes out of repurpose clothes, or fashion costumes from recycled materials. Another tip is thrift shopping for costumes, or asking a friend to let you borrow an unused costume they might have.


Give Out Healthy Treats
Instead of giving out sugary candy, consider giving out healthier treats on October 31, such as oranges, trail mix, granola bars, and stickers.


Decorations
Use recycled paper to create your crafty cut-outs of bats, pumpkins, and other spooky characters to decorate your windows. Decorating your home with locally grown pumpkins will help reduce your carbon footprint and waste. Be sure to harvest the pumpkin seeds for roasting and compost any parts of the pumpkin you don't eat!

Have a low waste party
Instead of purchasing decorative disposable plates, cups, and utensils, use silverware and compostable utensils. Check out your local thrift store to purchase your items. Have your guests toss their used utensils in a bin to be rewashed and reused. Don't forget to recycle cans and compost leftovers!

Inspired by: http://www.earthshare.org/2011/10/celebrate-halloween-with-earthshare-members.html

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