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The Environmental Impact Of The Back To School Period

Parents and kids shell out a lot of money in August for clothes and materials they don’t really need. Can we find a better way to get ready for September?

"Back to school" is a major opportunity for retailers and fast-moving goods companies—the second most important after Christmas. The average K-12 family spends $688 on clothes, notebooks, computers, and so on, according to the National Retail Federation.

But while BTS may have positive effects on economic growth, it’s not necessarily that wonderful for the environment. What those winsome TV ads with Selena Gomez and Jason Priestley fail to show is the cumulative impact at landfills ("Is she the new girl?").

This infographic may help put BTS in context. From Ethical Ocean, an online marketplace, it gives numbers on BTS consumption, the wider footprint of schools (e.g. from the lack of walking and cycling to school), and some advice for minimizing impact. You can see the whole infographic below and find more good tips here and here.

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  • Gnkunkel

    We only have one earth.  With the dumping that we do including outmoded electronics we may have to move to another planet eventually. the movie Samsara certainly points up the disparity withint class levels and the terrible waste thrughout our planet.

    I suspect that we will be mining our dump sites very soon.  Those countries who accepted outmoded electronics are already mining the dumps.  People who sort through these dumps are dying with lead poisoning as I write this.

    There must be a better way.