We've reviewed so many school supply lists over the years, we've come to think of them as Rubik's cubes - countless combinations of all the same wasteful plastic junk and plastic packaging.
We will be working to facilitate getting simple supplies like glue, scissors, and rulers back to being stocked as classroom supplies, rather than something students are asked to purchase year after year - then tote around in their backpacks for 9 months, before chucking most of it on the last day of school.
Round up all prior year's school supplies from around the house - edit, clean, sort, sharpen, and organize. Surprising how little is needed after taking stock of how much we already have.
If you/your child have the knack/tolerance/interest in thrifting, my personal experience is that it can turn into a fun afternoon poking through second hand stores - so much better than buying blister-packed plastic products from soulless big box stores.
Layer in quality pieces over time so you actually admire your belongings.
Consider investing a pair of quality scissors to keep at home. I'm partial to a 7" Parveen - they look as beautiful as they work. I'll have mine for the rest of my days, and my kids will have them after that.
For school scissors, I know it's really only garbage, plastic-handled stuff out there, and there honestly isn't one I'd recommend. Just see if you can find something of decent quality, and make a point of keeping and reusing them year after year.
Every year we're asked "What should I do with used crayons?"
a) Sharpen/clean/sort and keep using them until they are little nubs.
The whole concept that just because it is a new school year, all supplies have to be brand new from a big box store is unsustainable. We're far better off teaching young people to value the things we have, care for our belongings, and save hard earned money for products of quality when they are needed.
b) Not a fan of most collection programs, but the Crayon Initiative is an exception.
*Very few vegan options (most brands, including Crayola, contain ingredients derived from tallow/beef fat). Vegan crayons will take a bit of online searching - sorry we don't have more understanding/experience to offer in this area.
Specialty crayons (like vegan or beeswax) are not inexpensive, which is by no means saying they shouldn't be considered.
When items are treated with reverence, they can be conserved and cared for. When items like "cheap crayons" are put out in communal bins in large quantities, it sends the message that they have no value, and as a result, they will be treated as such. Most kids have a tub of broken old crayons at home, and most classrooms have the same - how would it occur to children to take care of them?
Bears repeating: Abundance creates a wasteful mindset, and scarcity creates resourcefulness and conservation. -
It is common for modern day classrooms to look to be bursting at the seams with an overabundance of stuff. It is challenging to be mindful of caring for materials when they appear to have no end - It's the fallout from a disposability society that has been on a stuff-binge for decades. On the upside, there is often a lot of reusable material hiding in plain sight (or in cupboards) that can be organized and shared in order to avoid buying more stuff.
Beeswax: STOCKMAR CRAYONS
Really annoyed by glue sticks and plastic glue bottles - the permanent waste created so kids can stick pieces of paper to other pieces of paper is beyond comprehension.
This will get me laughed off this page, but a simple jar of flour (rice flour if you're fancy) and some small cups in the classroom is our recommendation. Add a bit of water to a bit of flour and you can do all the things that glue does. Realizing you don't need a plastic tube or plastic bottle to accomplish sticking pieces of paper together would be by far the best thing any student learned in school that day.
On demand paste. Make just what is needed for the task (a jar of wet paste won't keep long as it is natural and will grow moldy).
Open their young minds to not needing disposable plastic junk that is polluting the air, oceans, fresh water, soil, rain and our bodies - truly something every student needs to know.
There are many recipes online for making smooth/fancy homemade glues of varying strength, but the flour and water or wet rice does the trick for simple class purposes.