Making Eco-Friendly Donations to your Child’s Classroom

Have you received the list yet this year?  Not the list of necessary school supplies, but the list that will help out the teacher in the classroom throughout the year? It annoys me a bit that this kind of stuff isn’t built into the school’s budget, but I look at it as an opportunity to share products that I use in my home with the teachers so they can use things that are less toxic, to my kids, and all of the students on a daily basis.  Also, I prefer to send supplies that leave a lighter footprint on the planet.  Here are some of the more common requests that we have gotten over the years:

  • Boxes of tissues – I send Marcal Small Steps because they are all I buy for my home and are made from recycled paper, not trees! Check out their site, their movement is pretty awesome!
  • Hand soap – There are so many great hand soaps out there that are made without triclosan or anything artificial (like fragrance used to scent a product).  Instead look for a product that uses essential oils as a way to add a slight scent and for those that have ingredients that come from more natural and sustainable sources.  As an added eco-friendly step, make sure the container can be recycled.  Personally, I love Dr. Bronner’s castile soap.  It is simply amazing and can be used for so many purposes throughout your home, and in this case, your child’s school.  Just buy a bottle or jug of it and pour some into a bottle with a pump and donate to your child’s teacher. 
  • Hand sanitizer – First and foremost, there is no substitute for hand washing and I do not like hearing teachers (yes, I’ve heard teachers do this) encourage children to use the awful hand sanitizer dispensers hanging on the wall in order to save time, rather than lining them up at the sink for a real hand washing.  I buy Clean Well and would happily donate it to my child’s classroom.  Made with ingredients such as thyme and essential oils with no harsh chemicals or alcohol, Clean Well is safe, but also effective.  I love that they come in a couple of sizes as well.  One is smaller, perfect for handbags or your child’s backpack, and the other is the pump size, which would make a great classroom donation.  Most important to remember is that some germs are actually good for our bodies and our immune systems.
  • Antibacterial Cleaning WipesI’m sure there are a few brands that come to mind immediately when you read those words, but most of them include harsh chemicals and bleach.  When I hear or see the word bleach, I go the opposite direction.  There is no bleach in my home.  It is not necessary for a clean household, but is actually quite unsafe with small children and also for anyone to breath in for any length of time.  Ever had a headache after cleaning with bleach?  Or need to open the windows nice and wide?  Wear rubber gloves perhaps?  Yeah, no thank-you!  So the wipes that I would donate are from Seventh Generation.  They actually have thyme oil in them and that’s what I smell when I clean with them.  So much better than some unhealthy chemical and if you want the little kids or the big kids to help with the cleaning tasks, then you should provide something safe for their little hands and bodies.

These are some of the first requests that came to mind when thinking about my past classroom donations.  Are there any on your list that I haven’t included here?  Something that you would like to donate a more eco-version of but aren’t sure of what to buy?  I’d love to help…..please leave me a comment or send me an email. Truly, our kids spend a large part of their time at school and inside their classrooms so shouldn’t they be clean, safe, and non-toxic?  These small changes in the way we as parents contribute to the classrooms can begin to make big differences for the future!

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