Backpacks are a necessity, even for many preschoolers and kids in daycare. There are a number of Earth-friendly backpacks on the market that are made from recycled products from drink pouches to PET plastic bottles. You can also look for hemp backpacks. Hemp fiber is known to be stronger and more durable than cotton of the same weight. Hemp is less polluting than cotton and more sustainable than other materials. Make sure your child's backpack (and other school supplies) is PVC free. PVC (polyvinyl chloride), or more commonly known as vinyl, contains toxins that are known to be harmful to people and the environment.
The Center for Health, Environment and Justice puts out its own list of PVC-free school supplies. You can also look for school supplies that are recycled with post-consumer waste, or waste materials that were used up in its original form and headed for landfills before being reused for new products.
Do you have your own green school supply suggestions?
Photograph courtesy of Marisa Torre, Flickr Creative Commons