Sustainable Brands to Support This Back to School Season

We love back-to-school season. Even though we’re full-time adults now (technically), we never quite got over the rush that was going to the local department store and picking up every cool notebook, pencil case and, now-a-days, laptop case? Cray. As exciting as this time is, it creates an incredible opportunity to give back to eco-conscious companies. Check out some of our favorite sustainable brands to support this back-to-school season.


The crown jewel of back-to-school season: a fresh, new backpack. It’s something like a right of passage, walking through the hallways or zipping through campus on a cruiser with the best bag around. Enter Timbuk2. Stylish, functional, sustainable. What more could you ask for? By offering a lifetime warranty and a recycling program, Timbuk2 hasn’t had a single bag enter the landfill since 2014. Instead of throwing it away, they take the time to fix it for free or recycle the material. Suddenly, these bags are a lot cooler than they already were.


Remember pencils? That weren’t mechanical? While we spend most of our days typing away on a keyboard now, this company has us looking for excuses to write something down. Sprout took notice of the alarming amount of consumer waste that is generated every day (230 million metric tons!) and decided to do something about it. So, they created a line of zero-waste pencils that can be planted. Yes, you read that right. When the pencil is used up, it can be placed in a pot, covered with soil, and a new plant will begin to sprout. You can even choose the type of seed you’d like! It’s a whole new definition of “biodegradable.”

Decomposition by Michael Roger

Haha, get it? While the name gives a bit of this company away, their products are not only biodegradable, but they are made solely of post-consumer waste. They’ve somehow found a way to kill two birds with one stone. These aren’t normal composition books, either. All the Decomposition stationary products are high-quality and have beautiful, whimsical designs on them. No need to worry about having to choose between fashion and ethics, you can have the best of both worlds with this brand.

Thrift Books

Not only does this company help provide better access to education for a much lower price, but it also combats the wasteful use of textbooks. Remember those things that you would buy new, read once or twice before a midterm, and never touch again? Yeah, us too. This website allows you to buy and sell used books you would otherwise have to throw away. This is especially important when 40 million tons of books are added to landfills every year. So, while you probably won’t need to grab the latest edition of College Algebra before the school year begins, pick up a copy of a novel you’ve been meaning to read. Not only will you save money and support a small company, but you’ll be doing your part to save the environment, too.


Step up your office / study group / cafeteria lunch game. PlanetBox has created pre-sectioned, stainless steel lunch boxes that are helping to make a difference. By cutting out plastic and disposable waste, using a reusable lunch box is helping you cut back on a lot of trash. Like 200 pounds of trash per year. Not only are these boxes under warranty for 5 years, but they’re also nearly indestructible. Throw in the back of the fridge, into your bag, even into the dishwasher. Might we add that, by design, it’s impossible to pack oversized portions? Just some food for thought (punningggg).

Onyx + Green

This brand offers just about anything you could ever need for your desk, except made sustainably of course. Most of their products have little to no packaging and are made from post-consumer waste. What we love most about this brand, though, is their creativity when it comes to recycling. For example, their colored pencils are made from recycled newspapers. Their scissors? Made of plastic that was created from corn. Their notebooks? The paper is made from stone particles which also makes the pages waterproof. In our eyes, this company’s product selection is the epitome of thinking creatively about ways to reduce waste overall. Feeling inspired and looking for more ways to live green? Check out these easy summer sustainability tips. And, if you’re curious about our commitment to the environment, you can read all about it here.