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State Urges School Kid Parents to “Think Green”

August 22, 2007

Minnesota kids are heading back to school soon, and state officials are urging parents to shop smart, and shop green when they look for those school supplies. Erin Jordahl-Redlin of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency says one way to do that, is to consider items that can be used again.

"Lunch bags, reusable containers for the lunch items that you put in the bags. Refillable pens or pencils. Those are all good ideas, because you can keep using them throughout the year."

Look for locally produced, chemical-free products. For example, responsible paper use today means buying recycled, chlorine-free brands. Jordahl-Redlin explains this reduces solid waste as well as the dioxin emissions from the traditional papermaking process. Even the kids' mode of transportation to and from school should be a consideration, to reduce fossil fuel use and oil imports and cut global warming.

"If your children take the bus to school, talk to the bus driver, and encourage them not to idle while they're waiting to pick up students. If you do drive your kids to school, you can car pool with neighbors and friends. That will decrease vehicle miles traveled."

And it wouldn't be back-to-school time without some new clothing. Again, Jordahl-Redlin suggests studying the labels, and "going organic.

"We can look for organic when buying food for kids lunches -- but also look at clothing that's made with organic products. It's natural, chemical-free, and may be locally produced. These are all ways to make your kids going back to school experience greener."

Find more tips online, at www.livinggreen.org.

Jim Wishner/Eric Mack, Public News Service - MN