Friday, June 21, 2013

End Of School Back Pack Clean out! Reduce Recycle and Reuse!!

Not only did my kids bring home a back pack full of "stuff" each, but they also brought a big carry bag home as well.
Note books full of work, folders full of work, half used workbooks, pens, pencils, erasers, plastic bags, glue... Melted chocolate (Andy swears he doesn't know how that got in there!)...
I pride myself on being a "Recycler", but the more I think about it and the more I read and learn, I'm actually not doing nearly as much as I should be, nor have I been recycling properly.

My attitude before was "Eh... It's plastic, so it much be recyclable", I've since learned that if you throw too much garbage in with your recycled goods, they don't get recycled at all, they get thrown away. Then there would be no point in recycling to start with!! Might as well throw that plastic away if the recycle people are just going to ditch it!! GASP!

So I've been making sure EVERYTHING I put in my recycle can is actually able to be recycled!

Pens can't go in a recycle can.
So what do we do with them? 
I already knew about one AWESOME place.... and it's called Terracycle, Terracycle take wrappers and make new products like pencil bags, purses and all sorts of things. GREAT NEWS... Terracycle is in the United Kingdom as well! There isn't as much offered yet, but you can recycle things and if you do, you could earn 1,000 pounds towards a charity of your choice! You can find the United Kingdom site here... Terracycle UK.
One other place that you can recycle your pens? How about sending them to an Artist in California? He will use your pens for art work! You can find the Pen Guy Here.

If the notebook is full of my child's work, especially journaling or stories... I keep them. I have a box of notebooks from all 5 of my children, one day I will return the notebooks to them, as my mom did for me, I loved looking back on my work from when I was a little girl. But before I pack the notebooks up I take out all of the blank paper. My kid ALWAYS need paper... For homework especially. If you decide that you aren't keeping the notebook, you should remove the paper from the wire before recycling.
I keep all of the paper stored, and yes... I hate those little bits of paper that get everywhere, but I collect all of the paper and then deal with the "bits"... They go to recycle. Oh the things we have to do for our planet :)
I can't keep every single paper that every one of my children ever do. But I do keep a lot of them. I keep all art work and I keep one folder per school year per child.... I always label any art work because it's not usually in a folder. I have 5 kids, I've saved papers for 18 years; if I don't label papers I forget which child did what!! Unfinished papers I save for the kids to work on during the summer. Yes... I'm one of those cruel moms that make their kids read and do math in the summer :) Any papers that I don't want or save... Paper is the easiest thing there is to recycle!
When labeling work, I only label the back with my child's name, school year and grade.
One folder each, per child, per year. It's hard, but I pick the best of their work, or the most precious of their work.

Well... There isn't a reason to recycle a pencil is there? If your kids are like my kids, they will find any excuse they can to get a fresh new pencil, I mean... What's better than a perfect pencil? But a new pencil can be brand new again with a new eraser on top ... So why throw them away? Keep them! Being a Teaching Assistant means almost every student I work with says "I need a pencil"... Aye Aye Aye... Pencils are like gold to me!
Plastic bags are one of those things that should never be thrown in a recycle bin. The bags can get caught in the machines that recycle. I'm sure I don't even have to go into how horrific plastic bags are for our planet. Plastic does NOT go away. It can break down into tiny pieces but it never ... ever... goes away. Most paper products are biodegradable. Plastic... NO. Nothing good about it. The best place to recycle plastic bags or stretchy plastic? Your local supermarket. Most of them have collection bins.

How can a mom not love papers like these?? :)
My heart is happy!!

What do you do with your old school supplies?
Have a wonderful day,


  1. What wonderful ideas ... 5 kids oh my I don't know how you do it ... thanks for popping in at my place ~ Sarah x

  2. Great post, Tammy. So good to 'hear your voice'!! :-) I hope you have a wonderful weekend.

  3. Great ideas for re-cycling. I've never known what to do with pens. Jx

  4. Good ideas for recycling all of the "stuff" the kiddos bring home at the end of the school year.



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