KIWI’s Sustainable Back-to-School Shopping Guide

Jenna Sims

Eco-conscious families can delight in the many options for sustainable, environmentally friendly, and zero-waste back-to-school products on the market today. The most simple solution to making more eco-friendly choices on your back-to-school shopping list is to ditch the one-use plastic and paper materials (like snack and lunch bags) in favor of reusable products from companies focused on sustainability.

The Backpack


Made of recycled polyester canvas from plastic bottles and offered in a wide range of colors and designs, State’s Kane Kids ($95; statebags.com) backpack collection fits everything your child needs for school. It even comes with extra zippered and slip pockets for pens, a water bottle, and other accessories. When you choose State bags, you’re not only choosing a sustainable product, you’re also indirectly helping families in need. For each purchase, State donates fully-packed backpacks (supplies included) to children who need them. 

The Lunch Box + Accessories


PlanetBox’s Rover ($59.95; planetbox.com) is a stainless-steel lunch box designed to be dishwasher safe and non-toxic (no lead, PVC, phthalates, or BPA material). Its versatility makes lunch combinations endless, with four main compartments and a special spot for a treat. The Rover set comes with two additional leakproof containers to include a variety of “wet” food options. Kids can choose from a variety of magnet designs to showcase their unique style and interests. 

Reusable Snack Bags (2 pack)

Easily transportable, reusable utensils are a must-have for your kid’s lunch box. To-Go Ware’s bamboo cutlery set ($15, patagoniaprovisions.com) includes a fork, spoon, knife, and chopsticks made of recycled plastic. Don’t forget the reusable snack bags from Green Sprouts ($9.99 for a 2-pack; greensproutsbaby.com).

The Water Bottle


Choose from Hydro Flask Kids’ 12- or 20-ounce water bottles ($29.95–$44.95;  hydroflask.com)—both of which come in four bright, kid-friendly colors: Paradise, Honeydew, Plumeria, and Ice. Liquids stay cold for up to 24 hours in these easy-to-clean straw cups with a durable perforated boot. Water bottle carrying cases come in pink and blue options. Hydro Flask also has a charitable program called Parks For All, which has supported more than 122 nonprofits and donated over $1.9 million to support green, outdoor spaces.

The Supplies


From pencils to paper to art supplies, eco-friendly products are the perfect back-to-school accompaniment to the other reusable products on this list:

Sprout pencils (from $11.80; amazon.com) in graphite or colored pencil packs are made of sustainably harvested wood and a patented non-toxic seed capsule. The best part? When you’re done, you can plant the pencil and watch it grow. 

Mead now makes a line of their composition notebooks ($3.99; target.com), as well as regular notebooks, out of recycled paper. 

Perfect for toddlers and school-aged children, Honeysticks makes eco-friendly non-toxic crayons from beeswax ($15.95; amazon.com).

Natural clear liquid glue by Onyx and Green ($4.99; earthhero.com) is made of plant-based ingredients free of harsh chemicals and toxins.