Environment Recycling & Waste Now Your Back-To-School Shopping Can Be Zero-Waste and Plastic-Free By Katherine Martinko Senior Writer University of Toronto Katherine Martinko is a writer and expert in sustainable living. She holds a degree in English Literature and History from the University of Toronto. our editorial process Twitter Twitter Katherine Martinko Updated August 06, 2019 ©. Wisdom Supply Co. (used with permission) Share Twitter Pinterest Email Recycling & Waste Zero Waste Plastics Thanks to Wisdom Supply Co., it's easier than ever to stock up on refillable, reusable, and repairable school supplies. Did you know that back-to-school shopping is the second biggest shopping season of the year in the United States? Deloitte issues an annual report on this phenomenon and just reported that people will spend an average of $467 in the weeks leading up to the start of the 2019-20 school year, totalling an astonishing $27.8 billion. Buying supplies for schoolwork is not something we'll criticize here on TreeHugger, as anything to promote learning is a worthwhile investment. But what many people do not realize is how much non-recyclable waste their annual back-to-school purchases create – and that better, healthier alternatives do exist. Just think of all the plastic markers, binders, page dividers, ring-bound planners and notebooks, pencil sharpeners, and more you've gone through over the years. Now imagine all of these school supplies being offered in a plastic-free, refillable, replaceable, repairable format. It sounds too good to be true, doesn't it? Well, it's time you heard about Wisdom Supply Co. This innovative company in San Francisco sells an impressive range of plastic-free school supplies online, proving that we do not need to consume single-use products in the way that we currently do. From co-founder Heather Itzla's short bio: "Picturing all of the students' families not walking out of big box office supply stores with countless plastic bags filled with plastic and vinyl destined to become landfill or pollute waterways [is what] compelled Heather to turn what started as an activist/volunteer effort into Wisdom Supply Co., a Benefit Corporation on a mission to reduce plastic waste on an exponential scale." © Wisdom Supply Co. (used with permission) The company sells individual school supplies, such as paper-based binders with metal rings that can be unscrewed and replaced; wood-and-wax dry erase markers that wipe off easily with a damp cloth (and can also be used as watercolor paints with the addition of water), as well as refillable liquid dry erase markers; wax peel highlighters and refillable ballpoint pens; all-paper planners and composition books; aluminum pencil cases; old-fashioned wall mount pencil sharpeners; and paper- and cellulose-based tapes. Wisdom Supply Co. partners with schools to customize zero-waste kits for different grades, making back-to-school shopping as easy as a single click online. Parents can either order the entire kit or edit it based on a child's unique needs. As a side note, I've been using a Wisdom Supply Co. weekly planner since earlier this year and I love it. Advertised as a "100% Seriously For Real Recyclable Planner," it has no plastic binding, laminated pages, coated papers, plastic tabs, or wasted paper (for notes at the end). A dedicated planner user, I am fussy about layouts and the feel of paper, and this one passes my test. A student version is also available (though it is sold out right now). If your kids are heading back to school, take a peek at this site before you head elsewhere. You'll be just as surprised and impressed as I was. More info in video below. Wisdom Supply Co. from TrimTab Media on Vimeo.