Back to school is a great time to go green

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Los Angeles, CA – With back to school season right around the corner, parents, teachers, and kids have an opportunity to start the year off with a commitment to protect the planet. CALPIRG Education Fund’s Green Schools Guide offers ways that schools and families can reduce emissions and pollution from transportation and electricity, stop using toxics, reduce plastic, waste less food and extend the life of school supplies.

“The best way to teach children to value our planet is by example,” said Jenn Engstrom, State Director of CALPIRG Education Fund. “Parents, teachers, and mentors can be environmentalist role models in many ways, from pushing for political action on climate change to simply buying less stuff. Our guide helps parents, teachers, and kids work together for a better future.” 

Actions schools can take this year to go green include: 

  • Switch to electric school buses, like schools have down in Los Angeles, Twin Rivers Unified in Sacramento, Modesto and more.  
  • Replace old drinking fountains with filtered water bottle filling stations to ensure lead-free drinking water, like schools in San Diego and Oakland have committed to do.
  • Take advantage of new tax credits to upgrade to electric buildings or put up solar panels. Los Gatos Union School District recently put solar panels on their campuses. 
  • Stop using single-use plastic foodware in the cafeteria. Thanks to a 5th grader, Burton Valley Elementary School in Lafayette switched out their plastic utensils for reusable metal.  
  • Reduce e-waste with longer lasting laptops, and start a repair program like in Oakland Unified.   
  • Planet a pollinator garden, like they did at Winters Middle School. 

Actions parents can take this year to go green include 

  • Start a walk or bike bus, organizing a group of families to walk or bike to school together 
  • Design their kid’s school lunch to reduce food waste or create a share table at school where kids can share uneaten food 
  • Buy reusable water bottles and food containers 
  • Buy less back-to-school clothes, or buy second hand 
  • Buy refurbished electronics 

See our Green School Guide for more information and a full list of actions schools and parents can take. See our tips for parents on more to save money and reduce waste when back-to-school shopping.