This year, money is tight for everyone – but did you know that most ways of saving waste can also save you money too! Parents and guardians read on for some waste busting, cost saving hints and tips.

1. School Uniform

If items of clothing still fit, consider reusing them this school year. Following manufacturer’s instructions when washing clothes and treating stains will keep them in good condition for longer. Making small repairs and adjustments to existing items such as trousers and jumpers are a good way to extend their lifespan.

If there is something you can’t mend or you can’t sew yourself find out where your nearest Repair Cafe is and see if they can help. They can also help teach you the skills to do it yourself next time!

If kids have grown like weeds over the summer then consider buying second-hand pieces of uniform, or organising a swap between friends or at school. Second-hand pieces of uniform can often be found on online sites such as Facebook and Gumtree. Try asking on Facebook or local sites like Nextdoor to see if anyone has spares.

2. Reusing supplies

Have your kids got boxes full of gifts from relatives like notepads or pens and pencils they’ve never used? Have an unused gift amnesty and check out what is hiding in drawers and cupboards. You might be surprised how many school supplies are hiding away at home!

Don’t forget stationery or school items such as pencil cases, backpacks or lunchboxes that are still in good condition, they can be reused again this school year. Resist that pester power – ask yourself if they actually need it, or just want a dopamine hit from the joy of new stuff!

If you do need to replace items, consider durable, long-lasting items that can withstand daily wear and tear such as metal bottles and lunch boxes. Although they may be initially more expensive, higher quality items will last much longer and are a good investment. Some items such as backpacks even have lifetime guarantees! Items made from recycled or reused materials are also a good alternative, such as pencils and backpacks.

Alternatively look for good second-hand items on Ebay, Depop or Vinted, or visit a car boot sale or jumble trail for bargains!

3. Zero waste lunches

Lunch times can be a big source of waste due to food packaging. Some easy swaps can help cut down on waste.

  • Buying things in bulk or larger quantities can help cut down on unnecessary packaging. Portion out and pack in a small reusable tub. (Examples of this include cutting pieces of cheese from a larger block, spooning out yogurt from a larger tub into a small reusable pot.)
  • A reusable water bottle can be refilled throughout the day.
  • Beeswax wraps and reusable bags and tubs can be a good alternative to cling film and tin foil.

Check out our Zero Waste Lunchbox for tasty lunchbox ideas!

4. Labelling personal items

Using name labels, tags or writing names on belongings can help you track them down when they get lost! This is a simple tip but will save you having to replace items if they get lost in school.

5. Recycling

If there’s a piece of equipment or clothing that can’t be used by someone else, recycle it!

Check if your local kerbside collection accepts clothes and textiles – check your local collection here. Textiles can also be taken to textile banks and HWRC’s.

School shirts hanging on a clothes rail
3 spools of cotton thread in navy blue, green and white with a sewing needle
A stack of three books with a green apple on top, next to a blue spotted school rucksack, with two pencils and a ruler sticking out from the pocket.
Reusable lunchbox with drinks bottle and fruit
Close up image of a ballpoint pen nib signing a piece of paper
Assorted stationery laid across a notebook page

Check out our 3R’s page for more tips on how to reduce, reuse and recycle at school and at home.