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With the first day right around the corner in Ann Arbor, all the preparation of school supplies and clothing may have you wondering, “How can I help in keeping Back-To-School Sustainable?”

Well, Chuck It has done some looking around and you’ll be happy to know that not only are there good purchasing practices to be made during this time, there are also numerous programs and resources in Ann Arbor for keeping your school supplies well within the realm of sustainability, recycling, reusing, and overall ecology.

Making Sustainable Purchases For School Supplies

1. Eco-Friendly School Items

Avoiding plastic, buying secondhand, DEcomposition books (yes, those are a thing!), there are a lot of sustainable alternatives out there now! Also, instead of conventional petroleum-based plastic, keep an eye out for products made from plants or other eco-friendly materials such as pens, pencils, and notebooks.

2. Reuse and Recycle At School

Recycling in school is also a big help. Washtenaw County has ongoing recycling programs in a number of its schools while Ann Arbor Public Schools have their own Environmental Sustainability Task Force, coordinating programs that you can take part in during the school year.

3. Donating School Supplies

In addition, donating to a charity, program, or someone in need is also a great way to keep waste at a minimum while contributing to a humane and efficient ecosystem!

Drop-Offs for New and Reusable School Supplies

Got extra school supplies or clothing? Whether you have an excess quantity, your child has outgrown them, or perhaps you just want to contribute, items like pencils, pens, notepads, staplers, and more can be dropped off at various locations within the A2 Reuse Network, featured in the above map.

Be sure to check with each location first to see what is accepted and individual business hours. Clothing and other large items are also welcome, whether it’s a folder, binder, calculator, or backpack. Washtenaw WISD and the Ozone House, and SCRAP Creative Reuse are also great places that accept gently used school supplies of many kinds.

Properly Disposing of Unusable School Items

Maybe you have some items that are just no longer usable. Torn backpacks, some kid’s clothes that have really seen better days, or electronics like that laptop or tablet that just has no more mileage left in it. Check out our very own, Interactive Junk Drop-Off Location Map! No matter the material, electronics or not, we have the proper drop-off location on there for you.

Scroll down to the section labeled “Ann Arbor Drop-Off Locations for Recyclables or Junk,” open the menu from the top left, and find the drop-off location for your specific item.