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27 Best Eco-Friendly School Supplies (2021)

Eco-Friendly School Supplies

Did you know that an American school uses about 250,000 pieces of paper on average a year? Now think about the number of schools in the US. We’re talking about billions of sheets of paper. And that’s only paper, without taking into account the plastics.

So, it doesn't come as a surprise that schools and other educational institutions are some of the largest waste generators.

Before you start going around the stores, think about what you can do to help the environment. I suggest starting with eco-friendly school supplies. Best of all, by shopping for eco-friendly school supplies, you’ll foster eco-consciousness among the young kids.

Here’s the ultimate list of vegan, sustainable, reusable, and zero-waste school supplies guaranteed to minimize your ecological footprint. 

Why Should You Get Eco-Friendly School Supplies?

At least 40% of the typical school waste stream is paper.

In fact, paper is the largest single component of all school waste.

Think about these facts:

  • About 900 million trees are cut down yearly to give materials for US paper mills.
  • One ton of recycled paper can save 17 trees, 380 gallons of oil, and 7,000 gallons of water.
  • The energy needed to recycle paper is 70% less than the energy needed to produce paper from wood.
  • Glass and plastic beverage containers are about 15% of all waste schools produce.
  • If you recycle only one glass bottle, it’ll save enough energy to power a 100-watt electric light bulb for up to four hours.

If you buy recyclable, reusable, compostable, or biodegradable school items, you won’t be fostering the school waste problem but working against it.

The Ultimate List of Eco-Friendly School Supplies

1. ONYX+GREEN Retractable Ballpoint Pen

Let’s start with something no student can live without — good quality pens.

Onyx + Green retractable ballpoint pens are made of 100% recycled materials — the ink is made from hybrid oil gel, and the casing is made of bamboo and corn plastic.

Best of all, they come in a recycled Kraft pack.

I’ve been using these for a while, and they didn’t disappoint. The blue ink writes smoothly, and they last a long time. 

Why do I like it?

If you, or your kid, are constantly losing the pens in your bag, great news. These always stand out, so it’s easy to see them when rummaging through the bag.

2. Onyx and Green Bamboo Gel Pen

Here’s another excellent pen option. If you’re tired of using petroleum-based ink pens, look no further.

Onyx & Green gel pen has blue soy-based ink.

The body is entirely recyclable, and it’s made out of bamboo.

The package is made from recycled materials too. So, it’s a win-win. This is one of the best green school supplies, as by using this pen, you won’t be creating any waste.

Why do I like it?

The pen fits comfortably in hand, and the .7mm tip writes well, without leaking or creating smudges.

3. Sprout – Original Edition

After the pen comes the pencil. Get ready to be vowed.

Sprout pencils are the only seed pencils in the world. What does that mean? Well, each pencil has a capsule at the end with a non-GMO seed.

So, once your child uses up the pencil, you can plant the seed, and as it grows, discover if you got an herb, vegetable, or flower.

They are made of sustainably harvested wood. I also appreciate that the package they come in is 100% recyclable as well.

Sprout pencils are a great conversation starter, especially if the child wants to make friends at a new school.

Also, you can use them to teach them some gardening basics when you plan the seed together.

Why do I like it?

These pencils are biodegradable, lead-free, and non-toxic.

4. BIC Xtra-Life Mechanical Pencil

The main advantage of BIC Xtra-Life is that one BIC pencil equals two and a half wood case pencils. This means much longer work time. You won’t need to constantly replace your spent or broken pencils, which saves on waste.

The BIC pencil has a reliable mechanism, and it’s perfect for long tests as you won’t need to sharpen constantly. Also, it isn’t uncomfortable even after hours of use.

A big plus is that it comes with an eraser or a pocket clip, so you can attach it to a bag or a book.

Why do I like it?

The lead is very good and doesn’t smudge under pressure.

5. TICONDEROGA Envirostik Natural Wood Pencils

These natural wood pencils come with an exclusive #2 formula and Ticonderoga graphite core, which gives an extra smooth performance. 

The pencils are made from premium, natural wood, topped with green latex-free erasers to help with corrections. The wood is sturdy, and it doesn’t break.

The pencils come pre-sharpened to save you time and are PMA certified to be non-toxic.

Why do I like it?

The lead doesn’t smudge but is nice and thick. You can use either an electric or a manual sharpener for this pencil.

Pro Tip
Pro Tip: Don’t throw away the shavings, but toss them in the garden or flower pots. Your plants will thank you!

6. Onyx and Green 3-Pack Mechanical Pencils

Onyx & Green is another excellent pencil, which can also be used as part of your eco-friendly office supplies.

This is a mechanical pencil, which means you don’t have to worry about the lead breaking or constant sharpening.

With this one, you can rest easy knowing you’re helping the environment, as the body is made of recycled PET, and it has soy-based ink.

In the package, you’ll get three pencils with an eraser and three 7mm leads. There are assorted colors, but don’t worry which ones you’ll get. The colors are all calming and eye-catching.

Why do I like it?

Because this is a mechanical pencil, there’s no need to sharpen it constantly. It saves time, especially when having to write something down in a hurry.

7. Michael Roger, Book Decomposition Spirit Animal

Now that we’ve taken care of pens and pencils, you need some books to write in. There’s no better choice than this Spirit Animal book decomposition. 

Here’s why:

  • It’s 100% post-consumer waste recycled pages — you can feel good no new materials were used making this, and it’s recyclable.
  • It’s made using biogas and processed chlorine-free in the USA.
  • The book is printed with soy ink.

What first attracted me to this book was the cover design. I live for anything vintage. But it’s so much more than a pretty book to look at.

Why do I like it?

Apart from being environmentally friendly, I found that I can use pens that won’t write well anymore with this book. The paper effortlessly teases out the last bit of ink from pens I would have otherwise discarded.

8. Ecology College Ruled Recycled Filler Paper

College ruled paper is great if you have a high school or a college student. But, younger kids can also use it for math or writing assignments.

This paper is made from 100% recycled content, so it’s new paper made from old paper. It’s also acid-free and processed chlorine-free.

When I used recycled paper in the past, I often found it too thin and easily ripped when I turned the page in the binder. I was happy to find that wasn’t the issue with this paper.

It’s high-quality, and if I didn’t know any better, I wouldn’t realize it’s recycled.

Why do I like it?

It’s versatile. Students and adults of all ages can use this paper. Compared to other recycled paper, it doesn’t rip.

9. Roaring Spring Environotes College Ruled 1 Subject Recycled Spiral Notebook

This is the perfect notebook for taking notes for up to 5 subjects.

The paper is college ruled, micro-perforated, which makes it bio-based.

It’s made from sustainable sugarcane fiber, and covers are made from high-recycled content.

A major plus is the double storage pocket located under the cover. It’s perfect for papers and loose-leaf items. 

I also loved that four subject dividers separate the book into five sections, so it’s always easy to find the subject and notes you’re looking for.

Why do I like it?

The paper is high-quality and doesn't bleed with ink nor tear.

10. Onyx and Green 3-Pack Erasers with Sleeve

No matter how many mistakes you make, you’ll be covered with these Onyx & Sticks 3-pack erasers.

The erasers come in assorted colors. The colors are bright and kid-friendly, so all your child’s classmates are guaranteed to want them as well.

These erasers also fall under green school supplies because they are made of recycled rubber. I like that they come in a paper sleeve, as it makes the grip much better.

I’ll admit, I haven’t had much luck in the past with recycled erasers. I found that some of them leave grey marks and don’t erase completely. 

I had no such issues with these. They are by far some of the best erasers I’ve used.

Why do I like it?

I like that the package and the product are sustainable. The package the erasers come in is a recycled blister card.

11. Eco-kids 4282-10pk Eco-Crayon Sticks Children’s Crayons

If you were looking for some crayons to add to your environmental school supplies, you’ll love these!

The crayons are made from a combination of 100% pure soy wax and beeswax without any fillers.

These are perfect for your young ones, as they are non-toxic. This means there’s nothing to worry about if you see bite marks on the crayon.

They come in FSC certified packaging, so you can rest assured the materials used come from sustainable sources.

Why do I like it?

The crayons come in vibrant colors, are fade-resistant, and the angles can help create varying color widths and defined lines.

12. Onyx and Green 24 Pack of Colored Pencils

This pack comes with 24 pre-sharpened colored pencils in assorted colors. The colors are vibrant, and there’s a good hue selection.

These are also recycled school supplies, as they are made from recycled newspapers.

They are safe for your toddler to use, as well older kids in art class. You’ll love the vibrant colors as well, so if you need pencils in the office, these could be the best choice.

Why do I like it?

Onyx & Green always make sure to use post-consumer and post-industrial content in their packaging. That’s the case here as well. The packaging for these pencils is made from a kraft box.

13. Three Leaf Recycled paper Pencils Colored Lead (Pack of 12)

Here’s another excellent option for colored pencils. These are sustainable school supplies, as they are made from torn strips of waste. This makes them 100% tree-free, eco-friendly, and biodegradable.

Because these pencils are made without harsh chemicals and are toxic-free, they’re safe for your babies and toddlers.

Are you wondering how hard these pencils are, considering they aren’t made of wood? You’ll be surprised to find they are as hard as any other pencil. This is because the pencils are made from tight rolls of waste paper.

The packaging is also eco-friendly. It’s made of recycled Kraft packaging.

Why do I like it?

They’re easily sharpened, and once you spend them, simply put them with your other recycling.

14. Eco Lunch Bag

No eco-friendly school supplies list can be complete without a lunch bag. Here’s my #1 choice.

This lunch bag is crafted from TYVEK (high-density polyethylene fibers) paper fabric right in the USA. 

This will pay off many times over because it’s highly reusable, and it’ll keep your lunch cold.

This paper-looking lunch bag is soft but sturdy. It fits 10 lbs of food. Once you’ve eaten the food, the bag can be compressed down, and it’s only 1.06oz heavy.

Why do I like it?

Its best feature is that you can squeeze it into your backpack or a narrow locker. It’s a perfect solution if your kindergartner has a small cubby or you have little space at work.

15. LunchBots Large Trio Stainless Steel Lunch Container

If you don’t want your kids to carry their lunch in a bag, here’s an eco-friendly lunch box.

It’s made of 18/8 stainless steel, without any toxins or chemical linings.

The box has three compartments, so it’s great for variety. You can pack a sandwich or a burger, in the first one, your favorite sided in the smaller two compartments.

The box is leak-proof, so you can rest easy about any liquid spilling into the bag.

I like that it’s virtually indestructible, so you don’t have to worry if your child will take good care of it.

Why do I like it?

It’s easy to clean. Just put it in the dishwasher.

16. Klean Kanteen Classic Stainless Steel Singel Wall Non-Insulated Water Bottle

The main feature of this water bottle is that it’s so durable. It isn’t made of plastic but recyclable metal.

It’s very lightweight because it’s non-insulated.

The stainless steel it’s made of is high-quality. It doesn’t smell, stain, or rust.

The sports cap is designed very well. It’s easy for kids to use and doesn't leak. 

The opening allows for easy cleaning or filling, and you can drink from the bottle without having to unscrew the whole cap, which makes it more sanitary.

Why do I like it?

The bottle has a grip for carabiner or clip, which makes it a perfect hiking companion.

17. Lifefactory 16-Ounce BPA-Free Glass Water Bottle

In case you aren’t a fan of metal, here’s a glass water bottle.

All components of this bottle are made either in the US or in Europe.

Plastic bottles continuously leach and make the water smell by the end of the day. This can even happen with glass bottles because of the chemicals used to make them.

You don’t have to worry about this issue with the Lifefactory water bottle. It’s made of glass that’s lead and BPA-free, so your water will be as fresh at the end of the day as when you pour it in, in the morning.

Why do I like it?

The bottle has a rubberized gripper surface under the handle, which means carrying it is easy.

18. Elmer's Disappearing Purple School Glue Sticks

If your kid regularly runs out of glue, you’ll love these! There are three large sticks, 0.77 oz each, so your glue needs will be covered for a long time.

The glue isn’t made from animal byproducts, but it’s acid-free, photo safe, and non-toxic.

The color is purple when you apply it, but it dries clear, making it easy to see what you’re gluing.

Pro tip: You can use this glue when doing Halloween makeup if you have to glue something to your face. It’s completely safe and doesn’t irritate the skin.

Why do I like it?

It’s washable, so even if it gets onto the clothes, just put it together with the rest of your laundry, and it’ll come off.

19. Plus Paper Clinch Compact Staple Free Staple Blue

If you’re tired of constantly running out of staples, or if your child keeps losing them, consider getting a paper clinch.

A paper clinch will fasten up to five sheets of paper without using any staples.

Simply open and slide the corner of paper and press. And, that’s all. Your papers will be fastened.

This is especially convenient for papers that go into the bag, need to be stacked neatly on the desk, or put in the filing cabinet.

Why do I like it?

It’s recyclable and environmentally safe. You can shred and recycle papers without having to spend ages taking the staples out or worrying they’ll get stuck in the shredder.

20. Scotch Magic Greener Tape

This tape is made from 65% recycled or plant-based material. 

This is an invisible tape with matte-finish.

The package comes with a dispenser, so you can refill it as needed and always have a tape ready to be used.

Why do I like it?

I like that both the dispenser and the tape are made of recycled materials. Core and the packaging are made of recycled materials, while the tape is made of plant-based materials.

21. Onyx and Green Scissors

You’ll need scissors to cut the tape. Here’s my eco-friendly choice.

Onyx & Green has 6.75’’ scissors. The scissors have stainless steel blades and a pointed tip, with handles made of corn plastic.

The ergonomic handles make holding these scissors comfortable, even though they’re on the heavier side.

Why do I like it?

I like the corn-made handles. They fit in hand very nicely, and the stainless steel blades are sharp.

Pro Tip
Pro Tip: Because these are heavy, they aren’t suitable for very young children but will perfectly work for older kids and adults.

22. Vera Bradley Cotton Pencil Case

Here’s the perfect pen to put all those eco-friendly pens and pencils.

Vera Bradley is made of machine washable recycled cotton.

The sustainable fabric is manufactured using recycled cotton fibers.

Your little one’s (or yours) writing utensils will be perfectly organized in 2 zip pockets. Best of all, there are also loops for attaching a three-ring binder.

To clean it, simply put it in a mesh bag and pop it in the washing machine.

Why do I like it?

I love this pencil case because of the design. The vibrancy will make everyone notice, and it can double as a cosmetic or a brush bag.

23. Samsill Earth's Choice, 2" Durable D-Ring View Binder

These sustainable binders are made in Fort Worth, Texas, using recycled and plant-based plastics.

The binder is composed of :

  • 59% bio-based materials
  • A cover made with 20% plant-based renewable plastic
  • Boards with 100% recycled fiber

It’s USDA certified, so you know you’re getting a high-quality product.

This three-ring binder has two clean inside pockets for any loose documents you have.

Why do I like it?

I like that it can hold up to 475 sheets of paper, and it has sturdy rings which can withstand years of use.

24. Eco-Friendly Laptop Sleeve

This laptop sleeve is made with upcycled paper from the cement industry, and it’s compatible with MacBook, Tablet, Kindle, or Notebook. 

It has a soft and padded interior, so your device will be safe from bumps.

You can carry it in hand or slide it into a briefcase, backpack, or any other bag.

Here’s an extra incentive to get this laptop sleeve: you’ll be supporting the education of Mexican workers with your purchase.

Why do I like it?

It’s water-repellent. The paper used to make it goes through an eco-friendly coating process to make sure it can be used in all weather conditions.

25. JanSport Recycled SuperBreak Backpack

You can shop these non-toxic backpacks with peace of mind — they have a lifetime warranty. If there are any breaks or damages, just send the backpack back, and it’ll be repaired.

The backpack is made from 100% recycled material. 

It’s lightweight, with Jacquard webbing and iconic JanSport straight shoulder strap design.

The construction is sturdy, so your student will use this backpack for years to come.

Why do I like it?

It has an elegant design, and it comes in three colors. Best of all, it’s unisex.

26. Targus Cypress Slim Backpack with EcoSmart

Get ready to be vowed — this backpack is made using fabric woven from 20 recycled water bottles found in rivers.

It’ll protect your essentials while also protecting the environment. 

It’s the perfect choice if you have a lot of electronics you need to carry with you. There’s a padded compartment that fits a 15.6” laptop.

There’s also a large main compartment and a secondary compartment with a workstation, so you can fit any files or gear, as well as a front quick-stash pocket.

Why do I like it?

I love all the different compartments and side pockets that can easily fit a water bottle.

27. Packable Drawstring Bag

Let’s finish off the list with a packable drawstring bag.

This bag can serve as a foldable organizer — you can fold it up into a small pouch (7.1 x 4.7 inches).

It’s made with water and tear-resistant material, with a drawstring closure.

The bag can be used as a school backpack or for gym and outdoor activities.

There are two parts:

  • The main, larger compartment can hold gym equipment or school supplies
  • The small front pocket is perfect for keys, phone, wallet, and other miscellaneous essentials.

Why do I like it?

You can fold it and put it in the suitcase, and use it as an extra carrying bag when traveling.

Eco-Friendly School Supplies: Final Thoughts

I hope this gave you some inspiration for eco-friendly school supplies or office supplies.

So, who’s the winner?

My #1 choice out of all eco-friendly school supplies is the Sprout pencil. Nothing beats a pencil that has a seed that you can plant. It’s 100% eco-friendly, and you can use the pens to start your own garden.

What about the runner-ups?

Places #2 and #3 go to the Lifefactory water bottle and Elmer’s glue sticks.

The water bottle is made of lead and BPA-free glass, so there’ll be zero leachings. As for the glue sticks, I like the jumbo package and that they’re washable.

If you have any other suggestions for eco-friendly school supplies, let me know in the comments below. I love finding out new products that are good for our planet!


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