Rebuy Goes Back-To-School Shopping

(view more articles in SOS Tompkins Weekly)

Tompkins Weekly – August 15, 2010
by Nicole Stumpf

by The Art Department

by The Art Department

Rebuy, along with the other 4R superheroes, Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle, is getting ready to go back to school. As a 4R hero, she is especially conscious about how the products she purchases impact her health and the environment. This is a good thing because unfortunately, many children’s school supplies can be very wasteful, damaging to the environment, a health-risk or just plain costly. Some products contain toxic substances, such as PVC, which can be dangerous to our health and the environment. Before going back-to-school shopping yourself, take a peek in Rebuy’s backpack for inspiration!

To start, Rebuy purchased her backpack at a local secondhand store. She was happy to find one that looked brand new, and it’s quite possible it had never been used. She could tell it was durable, and would probably last for more than just one school year, even with all the school supplies she planned to fill it with. It also cost less than the new backpacks sold in the department stores. If she had to buy new, she would have looked for a backpack made from recycled or natural materials, avoiding vinyl because of the PVC content. On her first day back to school, this is what she plans to bring:
– Solar powered calculator
– Recycled–content notebook
– Binder that was still good from last year
– Refillable pens and pencils
– Scissors with a recycled-content handle
– Non-toxic highlighters, markers, and crayons
– Recycled-content tissues
– Waste-free lunch
o Reusable water bottle
o Washable utensils
o Reusable lunchbox and food containers

Purchasing products similar to what we see in Rebuy’s backpack has many health and environmental benefits, including saving resources and energy and minimizing exposure to toxins. It’s also a great way to save money. Buying items second-hand, or salvaging useful items from a friend, sibling, or even your own supplies from last year, will save money. That money can then be put towards something else, like college!

Rebuy is a strong believer in using one’s purchasing power to make the world a better place. Buying green products will encourage manufacturers to produce more of these products. It can also inspire others to follow your example.

A few other useful shopping tips that Rebuy has been known to share include the following:

 While you’re at the store, remember to bring a reusable bag!
 If you are going to an office supply store, consider bringing used ink jet and toner cartridges to be recycled. Some stores will even provide a credit for returned cartridges.
 Bring old plastic grocery bags that you have no use for and deposit them in a plastic grocery bag recycling bin. Most large retail stores have a collection available for customers to use.
 Buy products that are made and sold locally to support the local economy.
 To find out where you can purchase green back-to-school items just like Rebuy, visit This website provides Finger Lakes community members with information to help them identify economical and effective environmentally preferable products that are sold through local vendors.

For tips on waste reduction, reuse, or more information on recycling in Tompkins County visit

Nicole Stumpf has been the Assistant Recycling Specialist for Tompkins County Solid Waste Management Division (TCSWMD) since 2008. She provides program support for and the ReBusiness Partners Program.

If you liked this article, you may want to check out our complete archives of SOS Tompkins Weekly articles