• Fail: Many contain PVC (polyvinyl chloride), the most environmentally hazardous plastic. (It’s also found in sneakers and boots.)
• Pass: Choose a hemp or recycled rubber backpack from: GreenEarthOfficeSupply.com Hemp-Sisters.com.
PAPER AND NOTEBOOKS
• Fail: Tree-wasting paper that’s bleached with chlorine (creates dioxins).
• Pass: Post-consumer content recycled paper that’s unbleached or tree free: DolphinBlue.com, NewLeafPaper.com, Treecycle.com
• Fail: Markers and glue that emit toxic VOCs; crayons containing petroleum products.
• Pass: Soybean crayons, natural glue, biodegradable cornstarch pens, recycled rulers, reclaimed-wood pencils, water-based highlighters and markers: GreenEarthOfficeSupply.com
• Fail: Electronics that contain toxic flame retardants called PBDEs (polybrominated diphenyl ethers).
• Pass: Several manufacturers, including Apple, Dell, Hewlett Packard, Hitachi, IBM, Intel, Motorola, NEC, Sony, and Toshiba, have eliminated PBDEs. (Matsushita/Panasonic is removing brominated flame retardants in 2006.)
For more about safe school supplies, check The Green Guide, a source for practical and reliable environmental health reporting and product reviews.