Back to school

For many, September means back to school. How can you reduce waste as well as your carbon footprint at this time? We have some suggestions for you to try. Let us know your favourite tips and hacks for learning with less waste in the comments.


            • You can find some great ideas for plastic alternatives to keep your lunch fresh here
            • Make Wise Choices with your lunch boxes and water bottles – plain stainless steel will look better for longer (paint always ends up chipping)
            • Single-use portions are definitely quick and convenient and we understand the challenges of getting a family ready for school in the morning – perhaps aim to swap out at least one thing for something that is waste-free or less waste… even decanting from a larger container or bag to a smaller one for the lunchbox is a good start. Here’s one mum’s attempt at plastic-free school lunches with some great ideas
            • Pack only what will be eaten to avoid waste


Uniforms and sports kit

  • Go for second-hand where you can, and hand down through your family
  • There are plenty of swap shops and online communities where you can find second hand or sites like are a great resource for acquiring or donating school uniforms
  • Or why not organise a swap shop with neighbours, family and parents in your school


Class ready!

            • Opt to buy stationery and other supplies with less packaging and look for those made with sustainable or recycled materials ideas include mechanical pencils, fountain pens with refillable ink cartridges (might be a bit messy for young kids though!), pencils and pens made from recycled materials or bamboo, avoiding flimsy products that won’t last or stationery sets that include items you don’t need. Using what you have around the house already rather than buying new is by far the best thing you can do
            • Used textbooks are just as good as new, ask around
            • There are sustainable bags and backpacks out there – but often they are pricey. Do you really need a new one? Can you buy second hand? Will it last another year? Maybe spend the money on a fun activity instead? If you do buy new look for ones made of sustainable materials, that will last the test of time or can be fixed when broken


Getting to school

  • Consider a car share or taking turns with the neighbours on the school run
  • If you are within a reasonable distance and have a safe path, why not try cycling or walking?
  • Use public transport if it is available


Encouraging involvement

          • Encourage your children to join the schools eco or environment clubs or initiatives. If your school don’t have any, why not look to start one?
          • Join the school council or advisory board and encourage the school to take some initiatives; perhaps buying local food, installing recycling bins or more in-class environmental education?
          • How about starting the term off with something different? Through our Dive into the Classroom programme, we offer interactive and media-rich marine education sessions to people all over the world!


When it comes to climate change and plastic pollution the size of the challenge can appear to be overwhelming but making small lifestyle changes can make a big difference to the health of our oceans if enough of us do them. It can help us inspire others to make Wise Choices as well as help drive policy changes in both business and government.

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