Forget shopping. This is Back-to-School Swapping!

Hotdog, it is time for back-to-school shopping! Or as I prefer it: Back-to-School Swapping.

When I was a kid, August was the only time I was allowed to get one new outfit for school (I was the youngest of 4), the rest of my duds were hand me downs. I admit, I wasn’t fond of having to wear my older siblings’ clothes but for my family it was a financial necessity.

school-supplies-swap-not-shopSwap, not shop

Today, swapping clothes or even wearing your sibling’s clothes is an environmental necessity; we send over 7 million pounds of clothing to the landfill each year – just in Chittenden County! But if swapping clothes with a neighbor isn’t a possibility, consider bringing your duds to a consignment store like Goodwill or Plato’s Closet.

The Salvation Army doesn’t only take wearable clothing but they will even accept raggedy items and fabric scraps to be recycled into carpet padding, automotive rags, and insulation for your home.

Find a donation box around town or swing by one of the 7 CSWD Drop Off Centers to offload your unwanted clothes today. Or check out a comprehensive list of reuse options for clothes in the area.

But why stop at clothing? Reusing school supplies is another great way to save money AND decrease the negative impact we have on our planet from the disposable society we have become.

Last year’s binder may be uncool this year so stop by the ReSource store to drop off the old and pick up the ‘new’ at a fraction of the cost: economically and environmentally.

The Great Locker Cleanout

Encourage your school to participate in The Great Locker Cleanout to not only recycle old notebooks and folders but to create a Reuse Zone where students can pick up 3-ring binders, folders, pencils, pens, etc. free of charge. I know that when I was a science teacher, I would have jumped at the opportunity to supply my students who needed assistance with free lab notebooks without having to reach into my own pockets to do so.

For more information on the Great Locker Cleanout, contact me!

More tips

  • Shop for gently used notebooks, binders, and pencils at reuse shops like Habitat for Humanity’s Restore, ReSource or any of the 7 ReUse Zones at CSWD Drop-Off Centers.
  • Check with neighbors, friends, and family members for extra school supplies they may have on hand from a recent graduate.
  • Begin an exchange program in your neighborhood where kids can swap school supplies and clothing. “It may not be new, but it’s new to me!”
  • Check out the art supply cabinet at home and begin a new family ritual; have kids decorate leftover notebooks and binders to look brand new and personalized.
  • Grab the duct tape (which comes in an array of designs these days); binders can be repaired and reused year after year.
  • Use all the paper from old notebooks. Tear it out and put in your binder!
  • Use a reusable mechanical pencil instead of a disposable pencil.
  • If you have papers that have only been used on one side, you can use them as scrap papers. You could even cut them in half, staple them together, and make a cool cover for a scratch pad.
Rhonda Mace
Rhonda Mace
School Outreach Coordinator at CSWD
When she's not setting up a worm composting farm or conducting a waste audit, Rhonda likes to hike and observe nature (she really digs bugs), ride her bike (preferably on the bike path) and cook with locally grown (mostly from her garden) foods. You can reach her at 802-872-8100 x211.