Tiny Trash Can school supplies disposal

School waste

This is all the trash my son generated this school year! Not too bad!!! 😁

I finally made time to go through the stack of school materials and projects he brought home at the end of the school year. I was able to reuse or recycle all of it except for two laminated pages from his agenda.

Here’s what we did:

Tiny Trash Can school supplies disposal

– We flipped through all the worksheets and kept the pages that were only used on one side—these will go in our scrap paper drawer 😊 Since my son started school, I’ve never had to by paper for my office! 😆

– We went through all his notebooks and carefully tore out the unused pages so we could reuse them. Several notebooks were barely used, so I tore out the used pages and will send my son back to school with these almost-new notebooks next school year.

Tiny Trash Can school supplies disposal

– The binder, dividers, page protectors, ruler, writing utensils and folders will all be reused next year 👍

Tiny Trash Can school supplies disposal

– What was left—a stack of paper and notebooks—went in my recycling bin.

How do you reduce waste when it comes to school supplies?

2 thoughts on “School waste”

  1. Abigale Miller

    I would love to hear more tips about this! My kids are all younger (between 1 and 6 right now) so they come home with a lot of crafts made with things like pipe cleaners, googly eyes, glitter, etc etc. I’m pretty sure a lot of that is not recyclable so often it goes in the garbage. Any advice about either suggestions for the school/day care or how to reuse or recycle craft supplies would be great.
    I should say that in general the kids’ school is great re. trash. They do re-use one-sided paper from the office for drawing projects, they collect dead markers for recycling, they have a composting program.

    1. Hi, Abigale! When it comes to crafts, you’re right—most “craft supplies” are some form of plastic and destined for the landfill 🙁 And many of those supplies come packaged in plastic packaging.

      In order to reduce waste when crafting, I suggest using items that are destined for the trash to begin with so there’s no additional harm done. Lots of well-intentioned people use recyclable materials (plastic bottles, toilet paper rolls, aluminum cans, etc.) for kids craft projects, but this doesn’t help anything if we’re removing material from the recycling stream and putting it in landfill. Ideally, items made from recyclable materials should be dismantled before disposal and put back in the recycling bin.

      Like with all things zero waste, it’s important to think about end of life at the beginning of the process. I like to challenge my son to use natural materials (like sticks, rope, etc.) that are compostable and to use fasteners that are reusable (like rubberbands, clips, nuts/bolts, etc.). I discourage him from using glue or tape since this makes dismantling and recycling difficult. He collects things that people have discarded (like broken pens, windshield wipers, etc.) to make new gadgets. Rather than being a limitation, I think a mindset of zero waste has actually expanded his creativity! 🙂

      Hope this helps!

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