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FAQ: How do we go back to school with zero waste?

Starting back at school can be a busy time of year, for both children and parents! When things get busy, it’s easy to opt for convenience over anything else — and traditionally, convenience comes as a cost to the environment. A frequently asked question we get at the start of every year is “how can I send my kids back to school in the most eco-friendly way possible?”. We’ve got the answers!

How can I save money when going back to school?

If the bustle of getting ready for back to school isn’t new to you and your family, then chances are, there are old school supplies from last year lying around the house.

Perhaps it might be stationery, books, backpacks or lunchboxes — these could be reused, saving you the additional cost of repurchasing the same supplies year on year. Kids love to keep up with the latest trends, but that means more money and more waste! If you have a good rummage around, you’ll be sure to find school supplies from previous years that are too good to discard.

How do I minimise waste in lunchboxes?

There are always sustainable alternatives for items such as lunch boxes and bags which are long-lasting and kind to the environment – this is our speciality!

When shopping for a new lunchbox for the kids, it needs to be durable and sturdy. A great option is to consider lunchboxes with sections for different foods like our collapsible bento lunchbox or stainless-steel lunch box with built-in compartments. This removes the need to individually wrap snacks and sandwiches with plastic cling wrap that goes straight in the bin.

Alternatively, beeswax food wraps are another great sustainable and reusable option over cling wrap. Not only do the natural beeswax wraps keep food fresher, but they are locally made here in New Zealand by Munch’s very own home workforce of over 40 women. Employment can be inaccessible for a variety of reasons — so every time you purchase a sewn product from Munch, these wahine are able to work, obtain an income, provide for their families, and feel empowered. See how being conscious of the products you buy can have an overwhelmingly positive impact? Even a small beeswax wrap can make such a difference!

Our kids have to wear masks at school now – is there a reusable option that is also safe?

With COVID-19 being ever-present worldwide, wearing masks has become the norm. Now with government-regulated mask wearing for teachers and students in years 4-13, a protective mask is a necessary addition to the school bag.

Rather than disposable masks which end up in landfills, reusable cotton face masks with a three-layer filter system are an excellent option for daily use. This minimises the amount of waste produced while also offering more protection than disposable ones. Cloth masks have gotten a bad rap in the media, but be assured that it’s the single or two layer cloth masks that aren’t recommended — three layer cloth masks are the way to go!

A great sustainable option is #TheGoodFacemask, made right here in Aotearoa using locally designed fabrics printed on close-woven organic cotton. These masks are also made by the incredible women in our home workforce — protecting your little ones at school provides purposeful work for those who need it. Find out more here.

Getting the kids ready for the new school year requires a lot of preparation — but it doesn’t have to be a chore! At Munch, we’ve got everything you need to ensure the back-to-school frenzy is stress-free and ultimately kinder to the environment. Become a sustainability champion with Munch and check out our online store now.