Thursday, July 29, 2010

Back to School Supplies: Go Green Save Green

I'll admit I was lured in by the money savings. I needed to complete their back to school supply lists and decided to make Target my one stop. Armed with Walmart's circular that had cheaper prices on crayons, glue sticks, and notebooks, I was ready to do battle with customer service if I had to. What a relief to see all the items I would have price matched had already dropped lower than Walmart. Score! What was even better was seeing that several of the products that were great prices were also surprisingly green.

For instance, Crayola markers are only $.77 each for regular and $2 for washable. They are now making the barrels black to use more recycled plastic in them--keeping hundreds of tons of plastic out of landfills each year. Crayola is also using solar panels to provide enough power to make one billion crayons each year, and a new tree is planted for every one used to make their colored pencils (on sale for $.88.). A 24 pack of crayons are non-toxic and only cost $.20 each. Throw in that all Crayola products are made in the USA, and I'm sold.

I was also excited to see a new recycling program by Elmer's. According to this site, you can drop off your used glue bottles and glue sticks at Walmart. Hopefully they'll be repurposed with fresh glue instead of just melted down and recycled. I'm going to ask our school if they'll place a bag in each classroom to collect these and then I'll take them every few months. And if you're looking to save money on glue, now is a great time. A 2 pack of glue sticks and 4 oz. of "school glue" are just $.20 each! Last year I made the mistake of buying just what was on the supply list, only to realize that number multiplied five fold by the end of the year. Buy extra crayons and glue sticks now!

Another cheap item this week is composition notebooks. You can buy a variety of colors, 100 sheets / 200 pages for just $.20 each. I was delighted to see that these are made with recycled paper. Another good deal is a 96 sheet pack of construction paper for just $.88. It's not from recycled paper, but it is made in the USA.

One of my favorite green products is the dry erase board. It's one of the best examples of reducing in the classroom. It gives me warm and fuzzies just thinking of all the paper it saves by having them practice letters and numbers on the boards. I picked up a double sided board (one with lines and one plain) for just $3.14. Bobby's from last year was looking pretty warn but will become Devin's at-home board to practice his letters.

I also picked up two Embark lunch bags with an attached insulated bag for drinks (on sale for $9, a $4 savings). I'll replace the water bottles with our kid-size Klean Kanteens. The lunch bag is a perfect size to fit the laptop lunch boxes I bought a few months ago. This is a great organizational tool to save you money and waste big time throughout the year. People comment on them everywhere I go.

Finally, there are two good snack deals I picked up. With a $1/1 Target coupon and $1/1 manufacturers coupon in last Sunday's paper, you can get a pack of Snyders pretzyls for just $.24. Kashi products are also on sale and there are a variety of Kashi coupons here. Since you must have to go to Super Target in Turkey Creek for Kashi pizzas and frozen foods, I honed in on the granola bars on sale for $2.50 a box. Though I couldn't find the "Go Lean" variety noted on the Target coupon, I was still able to get them for $.66 a box. You can print two Target coupons: buy any two Kashi products, get one free. I had 6 $1/1 manufacturer's Kashi granola bars from peeelies I got off cereal boxes months ago. Since I saved $11 off 6 boxes with these 8 coupons, I only paid $4 total. I did make the mistake of picking up several boxes of the dark mocha almond; doesn't that sound delicious? Guess what? "This tastes gross, Mom! It smells like coffee!" Oops. Who says every back to school purchase has to be for the kids?!

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