6 Tips for a Simpler, Eco-Friendly Return to School

The new school year is just around the corner! This year, why not make it simpler and greener? Here are our top tips!

We are fast approaching that fateful day that tends to send shivers down parents’ spines: the first day of school! September not only goes hand in hand with back to school, but also back to an endless list of school supplies, to routine, to lunches, etc.: in short, the infamous back-to-school headache.

This year, we figured we’d make the most of it by sharing our top tips to save you time and money (and prevent cold sweats!), with a focus on sustainable and eco-friendly options.

School supplies

At the end of the school year, we often rush to hide backpacks out of sight and out of mind. Go dig them out: it’s time to organize activities with your kids!

Tip 1: Create your own big-box store by spreading previous years’ school supplies in good condition throughout a room in your home. Give your kids a school supply list and a basket to do their shopping. This way, they can have fun while practising their reading, numbers and colours. It’s the perfect rainy-day activity!

Tip 2: Let your kids’ creativity run wild by letting them decorate their school supplies. Provide stickers, pencils and coloured paper so they can spruce up their favourite items. This is an excellent way to breathe new life into a backpack that has been through the wringer.

Getting to school

Back to school also means back to a morning routine: waking up to an alarm clock, grabbing a quick breakfast and dashing off to school. Why not rise and shine 10 minutes earlier and ditch the car for your school run?

Tip 3: Hop on your bikes and throw on your most comfortable shoes: this morning, let’s get some physical activity and leave the car at home. This brief time spent outdoors helps kids and parents start their day off on the right foot and is sure to be a popular choice!

Tip 4: Start a trottibus. The Canadian Cancer Society’s walking school bus initiative allows elementary school children to walk to school together, accompanied by parents or volunteers. Not only does it ensure you get your daily physical activity, it also promotes a greener neighbourhood and boosts your kids’ concentration in class.


The battle of the lunchbox may be an inescapable back-to-school tradition, but lunches are more fun for kids when they’re eco-friendly and colourful, and simpler for parents when everything is planned out.

Tip 5: Set aside one or two mornings each month for meal prep. Double or triple the recipes and freeze them to enjoy healthy, affordable and unpackaged snack and meal options throughout the month. Here are some of our favourite freezer-friendly recipes:

The Teddy Bear Mitt – Molasses energy cookies – Madame Labriski
Energy Bites — The Buddhist chef
Mini Ham & Cheddar Frittatas | eggs.ca
Mini Meat Loaves | Dairy Farmers of Canada 

Tip 6: Although you already know what steps to take to reduce waste, you may still need to buy premade foods. Here are our go-to tips to keep in mind while grocery shopping:

  • Avoid overpackaged foods and meals.
  • Choose local, seasonal fruits and vegetables with the help of this calendar.
  • Support specialty food stores, butchers and fish shops in your area.

At the end of the day, the key to a successful, simple and eco-friendly return to school is organization. Draw up a game plan and budget to reduce stress and guilt. When it comes to your wallet and the planet, every little bit counts.

The Lareau team wishes you a great start to the school year!

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