Most of our kids haven’t even finished school yet and maybe you don’t want to think about them getting back to school already. However, if you get all your school supplies and essentials for your kids' lunch ready before the summer even starts, you don’t have to stress over it anymore and can just chill-out and enjoy the break with your little one.

Why not make this year the first year of investing in eco-friendly and mainly plastic-free alternatives to the regular school supplies and lunchboxes for kids made out of plastic? This will not just be better for the environment, but also for your budget! Tin lunch boxes and other eco-friendly and reusable products are more durable and last a lot longer than their plastic counterparts. So here are our favourite eco-friendly back to school essentials, that you probably won’t find on your book list!

1. Reusable Drink Bottles

The easiest way to reduce your back to school single-use plastic is to ditch the water in plastic bottles. Our most popular non-plastic reusable water bottle to accompany your kids' packed lunch is the Punc Bottle. They are not just available in different colours, but also different sizes. For kids from the age of 3 years, we recommend the 500ml bottle, for older children, teens and adults you have the choice between 750ml and 1 litre. Since they are made from food grade stainless steel, they are just as light as any plastic bottle. The smooth surface is easy to clean, the mouth-piece and straw come apart easily to give it a good wash as well.

If you are looking for an alternative to fit tiny hands, the Moulin Roty Le Jardin du moulin Water Bottle is absolutely perfect. It is also made from food grade stainless steel and with a capacity of 200ml it is small enough for any pre-schooler. The attached carabiner clip on the lid is great to fasten the bottle on your little one’s backpack or for extra grip when holding.

back to school essentials, sandwich wraps

2. Sandwich Wraps & Snack Bags

Gone are the times when a sandwich was wrapped in tin foil or cling film - thankfully! Nowadays, you have the choice between many great reusable alternatives. The Boc’n’Roll Sandwich Wraps are a very popular alternative to a metal lunch box. They work just like foil or cling film and are used to wrap packed lunches of most sizes and shapes. Plus, they double as a placemat, when eating. Once used you can just wipe them clean, wash with your dishes in the sink or even throw them in the washing machine. The bright colours and designs are an added bonus as well, which especially kids love!

For anything that can’t be wrapped, a Snack’n’Go or Keep Leaf bag is the perfect food storage option for school lunches. The bags are big enough to hold a portion of popcorn or even a full sandwich and the velcro closing makes sure everything is securely stored away until eaten. Wipe it clean or add it to your laundry to give it a thorough clean and reuse it over and over again! We particularly love the many different kids' designs of the Snack’n’Go bags, which will ensure a happy lunchtime!

back to school essentials, stainless steel lunchboxes

3. Lunchboxes

If you are not a fan of lunch bags, boxes are for you! Instead of getting another one of those cheap plastic lunchboxes for kids, why not have a look at our selection of stainless steel containers and tin lunchboxes?

The round lunch box set of 3 from Made Sustained is very handy for school lunches. The three different sized stainless steel boxes give you the option to pack sandwiches and snacks separately. The BPA free lids are also leak-proof, which is always a huge advantage.

The rectangular and oval lunchboxes by Made Sustained, U Konserve or A Slice of Green are a more compact alternative. Also not leakproof it offers a lot of room for a sandwich and some snacks and packs away neatly in any school bag. Combine them with some of the U Konserve Mini Containers or go for the two-tiered lunchbox to keep different kinds of foods separate.

4. Insulated Options

There’s nothing nicer than some warm soup on a cold day - equally, you would want perishable foods to be kept cool and fresh during the summer. The answer: Insulated lunch bags and food storage containers.

Especially older kids love a bit more variety for their packed lunch and like to take some soup or other hot meals into school. The U Konserve insulated containers are perfect for that. The double layer stainless steel container keeps hot food warm for at least 4 hours. Add a handy little Bambu Spork and your kids are all kitted out for some delicious school lunches!

Does your child prefer to take in a separate lunch bag instead of packing their lunch box into their school bag, the Keep Leaf insulated bags are great for just that. They don’t just look gorgeous but also keep the food at a constant temperature.

back to school essentials, twig pencils

5. Homework Supplies

If you would like to take your eco-friendly approach a little bit further this year, why not browse our Eco Stationery category?

We know, you all love rainbows and our guess is, your children do too. Start the new school year with a bit of rainbow love with this rainbow pencil case made from fair trade goat leat

her or brighten your little one’s desk at home up with the colourful recycled crayons pen pot. Lunch money and glasses are kept safe and sound in the rainbow felt purse or a leather coin pu

rse and the felt spectacles case.For pre-schoolers, primary school kids and home education the Twig Colour Pencil set of 10 is one of our absolute favourites. They are ethically handmade in Thailand and fairly traded, but the best part is the way they look. Made from Tamarind trees they are not just great for colouring, drawing and writing, but also for learning about sustainability. At £3.50 for the set, these are also great for eco-friendly party bags!

Say Good Bye to Plastic Heavy School Supplies

Getting everything sorted for back to school can be stressful and expensive, which is why we often choose the more affordable plastic items instead of investing in a dearer reusable or more sustainable alternative. However, when you start early or maybe just replace one plastic item per term, a more eco-friendly and ethical lunch and school bag is affordable for everyone.

Which eco-friendly products are on your back to school list? Anything else you would recommend?