Seven eco-friendly back to school tips

As students begin a new school year, Republic Services is encouraging parents, teachers and administrators to incorporate sustainable practices whenever possible with seven back to school tips.

“Environmental responsibility is not always top of mind when preparing to go back to school,” said Pete Keller, vice president of recycling and sustainability, in a press release. “When you incorporate one sustainable practice into your daily routine, you can make a lasting environmental impact. Back to school is the perfect time to start adopting better habits you and your whole family can practice.”

Republic suggests practicing these useful tips as families and schools begin the new school year:

  • Plan: Make a list before you shop for school supplies to limit impulse buying.
  • Repurpose: Before shopping for new back-to-school items, sort through old supplies. Many from last year can be reused or repurposed.
  • Buy Smart: Whenever possible, purchase supplies made from recycled or reused products.
  • Reuse: Bring drinks in a thermos or reusable water bottle and be sure to recycle milk cartons, bottles or other recyclable containers.
  • Pack it Up: If packing lunch from home, use reusable containers and carry them in a reusable bag or lunch box.
  • Volunteer: Find out if your school has a recycling program, and take part. If not, team up with administrators and teachers to start a recycling program that works for your school.
  • Empty, Clean & Dry: Always make sure your recyclables are EMPTY, CLEAN and DRY before tossing them in the recycling bin.

The new school year is the perfect time to identify and minimize the impact of individual activities on the local environment. For example, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), food waste is the second largest category of municipal solid waste and is a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. Based on USDA calculations, approximately 31 percent of all food from home and school goes uneaten, and is eventually discarded. By incorporating sustainable practices at home and at school, parents, teachers and administrators can instill sustainable behaviors in students that can be carried forward throughout their life.

Known as the Blue Planet™ sustainability initiative, Republic Services is defining its approach to corporate social responsibility through the practices and programs outlined in its Sustainability Report. To view the latest Report, go to