My Best Back To School Zero Waste Tips and Recipes

My Best Back To School Zero Waste Tips and Recipes

Aug, 20, 2023

My Best Back To School Zero Waste tips and Recipes

My Best Back To School Zero Waste Tips and Recipes

This week our kids are going back to school and of course it’s a bit different since we have moved from San Diego, California to Stockholm in Sweden so that means all three kids will start in a new school. It’s funny how at the end of the summer I kind of look forward to normal routines and kids back in school but on one hand I’m always sad the summer break is over. Anyone else feels like that?

Of course the beginning of school means back to meal prepping and routines and we need school supplies. 

School supplies can be very wasteful and very unsustainable plus may contain lots of harmful ingredients that I have zero interest in letting near my kids. Did you know that roughly 82,000 trees are cut down each year to make pencils!? So yes there is a good reason for making a conscious effort to buy more sustainable products whenever possible. 

 So here is my list of how we reduce waste by buying used, borrowed or we need to buy new eco friendly supplies. 

Plastic free Folders—staples


Notebooks—Buy a durable notebook made with 100% post-consumer recycled paper.

Books—Try to borrow, buy used, or download books before buying new ones.


Colored pencils-ecogirlshop.com

wood or stainless steel Ruler-staples.com


Calculator—This is best to buy used on eBay or Craig’s list.

Print paper—Buy only 100% recycled paper or FSC certified paper, and make sure it’s not bleached.

Lunch bento boxes and thermoses –Lunchbots.com

Reusable sandwich bags-Yumboxlunch.com

Fountain Pen-BourbonPens.com

 pencils –Sproutworld.com


The new for this school year is that I no longer have to pack kids a lunch since they are being served both snack and lunch in school. However, I have packed many lunches over the years In order to back a zero waste lunch here are my recipes for that:

Sandwich bread

Breakfast cookies

Kale Chips

Think you can’t get your kids to eat kale? Try these crunchy, salty kale chips and watch it all 


  • 5 bunches kale, de-stemmed and torn into pieces
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup or agave nectar
  • Himalayan pink salt

Combine oil and syrup in a large bowl. Add the kale and coat well. Work the sauce into the kale with your hands and sprinkle on some good Himalayan salt. Dehydrate at 118 degrees Fahrenheit overnight, or use an oven at the lowest setting for 2-3 hours, checking periodically until chips are crispy.

No-Bake Energy Bars

These no-bake homemade energy bars are another kid favorite the adults will also love.


  • 1/2 cup chopped almonds
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
  • 2 Tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 cup puffed quinoa
  • 1 cup nut butter (almond or peanut)
  • 3/4 cup honey

Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl. Transfer to a greased 9×13-inch baking pan. Refrigerate for a few hours to harden. Slice into bars and store in an airtight container.

Homemade Laräbars

Who doesn’t love Laräbars? Not us. Now you can try this healthy no-bake version at home.


  • 1/2 cup unsalted cashews
  • 1-1/4 cup dates
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp carob powder

Blend all ingredients in a food processor until a sticky dough forms. Mold into bars or balls and store in an airtight container.

And finally since it’s back to busy days and lots of after school snacks and activities, here are my video of how I meal prep each week:

Happy back to school!

Fredrika Syren

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