The back-to-school online marketing, TV commercials, and newspaper flyers have started and the more I see and read I can’t help but think…”let the greenwashing begin!” Just because products are advertised as ‘green’ doesn’t necessarily mean they are and parents need to educate themselves on what school supplies are made from. This year, I’m making an effort to not just stumble blindly through Office Depot trying to find everything on my back-to-school list and will be attempting to purchase non-PVC items and avoid polycarbonate plastics too (BPA plastic coded #7). Beware of back-to-school greenwashing from companies marketing ‘greener’ school supplies and lunch containers. Ask questions before you buy. I’m so tired of seeing water bottles that appear to be stainless steel, but after picking them up and asking or emailing customer service departments, only to be told they are aluminum (hello Old Navy!!!). Which is actually terrible because there are health problems associated from having your water in direct contact with aluminum. This is why manufacturers line tin cans with BPA so there is a barrier between the can and food (not that this is an ideal solution either). When a water bottle looks like stainless steel and is only $4.99 in a store – ask why. You’ll be surprised by the answer.
My goal is to eliminate PVC (the poison plastic) coded #3 from anything my boys will be putting into their back-packs heading into the classroom this September. I’m hopeful this is possible because there are so many more options with school supplies this year. Still, it’s a major undertaking to research school supplies so I’m linking to the experts at the Center for Health , Environment, & Justice. They’ve put together a fantastic guide call Back to School Guide to PVC-Free School Supplies. Have a read because this guide was put together August 2009 and is very current with great information. There is even a wallet printable guide to take with you while shopping called Back-To-School Wallet Guide to PVC-Free School Supplies.
If this is important to you I would recommend shopping early because items like 3-ring binders will be tough to find that aren’t made of vinyl. PVC is a known carcinogen and is toxic for human health. Let’s work together to remove it completely from schools. Mommy Footprint is here to help with back-to-school litter-less (and non-toxic) lunch recommendations. I’ve been trying out some incredible products and will be writing about them over the coming weeks. A wonderful aspect of writing for Mommy Footprint is not only talking about chemicals I’m trying to eliminate from my children’s environment, but pointing parents in the direction to safe and more environmentally friendly products. I would never write a positive product review unless I love the product. I can’t wait to share products that are truly greener and safe to pack into your child’s back pack this school year. And without the greenwashing. <grin>