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Back-to-school

Stationery supplies

There's a great temptation, and sometimes pressure, to buy a whole new set of supplies at the beginning of every year. While some supplies are necessary, there are many ways to minimise the impact and cost of the back-to-school buying spree.

Coloured pencils lined up

©iStockphoto.com

Here are some tips to reduce the impact of your stationery purchases.

  • Make a list—and stick to it.
  • Look for products that are re-usable or contain recycled content. Look online for the growing number of stores specialising in eco-friendly and recycled school and craft supplies. Avoid notebooks with plastic covers—opt for cardboard instead.
  • Avoid items with unnecessary packaging as it consumes energy and resources. Buy in bulk where you can to reduce packaging and cost, but don't buy more than you'll use.
  • Buy well-made durable items wherever possible. While some things may seem cheap in the first instance, they may not last as long as you need.
  • Choose non-toxic options when you have a choice—for example, water-soluble glue or water-based paints rather than acrylic paints.
  • Look for natural products—for example, crayons made from soya bean oil instead of paraffin (a petroleum-based product).
  • Label items to avoid losing them. 
  • Use solar-powered calculators. If a battery-powered model is required by your school, use rechargeable batteries.  
  • Check if your school has a newsletter or noticeboard to sell unwanted school items.

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