Consciously Shopping in Toronto: Back-to-School

In addition to the dent in parents’ wallets, there are environmental and social costs to all this school-related spending. That backpack full of supplies might be good for one set of Three Rs – reading, writing, and arithmetic – but bad for another set — reduce, reuse, and recycle. With the list of our
children’s “needs” and “wants” growing with every passing day, you can satisfy them, your wallet, and our world by visiting these green gems in our very own city.

Get Armed with the Basics

To start the school-year off right, you need to be armed with the back-to-school basics first. Ecoexistence carries the most eco-intelligent products and back to school must-haves like Klean Kanteen’s stainless steel bottles( to keep you hydrated and Wean Green’s ( glass containers to pack your favourite snacks lunches in. Kym Klopp, owner of Ecoexistence, knows that saving the planet can be intimidating, but that is the whole idea behind her store. The selection of lifestyle products empowers people to make more environmentally friendly choices, and little things really do add up!

Fill it Up

The food we pack for our children needs to keep them fueled throughout the day, so choosing healthy, wholesome, organic eats is just as important as the containers that you’re packing their lunches in. Staying away from the big stores (there’s really nothing “super” about the Supermarket)
and frequenting your local independent grocery and health food stores support our local economy.

Shopping at The Big Carrot can be a family event. They have the selection of a “super” market, but have strict standards about what’s on shelf, and they support farmers before the food terminal. You will even find coveted in season farmer’s market fruit and veggies like wild blueberries. Don’t be afraid to ask questions – learn and ask where everything comes from. They will actually know the answer!

Pack it Up

The most environmentally hazardous plastic, PVC (polyvinyl chloride a.k.a. vinyl), can be found in shoes, boots, and even backpacks. If you are in need (no need for a new one each year) of new backpacks, ensure they are PVC-free and manufactured responsibly. There are many options at Patagonia – not only do they believe in doing everything they can to share our undomesticated lands and waters, but they have a great selection of back to school bags and clothing too!

Lisa Borden

Our monthly contributor of Consciously Shopping in Toronto, Lisa Borden is an eco-advocate and mother of three, whose business is a direct reflection of her commitment to better, more responsible living. She is a dedicated workaholic, admitting that it takes a lot of time and effort to change the world, especially in her non-preachy, fun, engaging and inspiring ways. Lisa consults, writes, engages the media, runs private workshops, and enjoys speaking to large and small groups. Her full-service marketing firm, Borden Communications + Design Inc. is based in Toronto and takes great pride in being an ethical business providing exceptional ideas. You can sign up for Lisa’s rants and raves or reach her directly at

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