Take the May Challenge

Reusing/Recycling School Supplies

Remember the 6 R’s?

We learned about the 6 R’s in October. In case you’ve forgotten them, they are Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose, Replace and Recycle! By following the 6 R’s, we can reduce or even eliminate items in our lives that don’t make the planet healthy.

This month, we are going to focus on how you can apply the 6 R’s to your school supplies! Every May, you leave Carrollwood Elementary for summer vacation with a backpack full of supplies. Some of them are no longer useable but many of them probably still are! This year, when you go through your school supplies, think about what category your school supplies fall into.

Stuff you can reuse:

Many of the supplies you bring home are going to be used but may still have plenty of life left in them. They may need sharpened or cleaned up but many of the items on this list can be used from year to year. If the erasers are gone on your pencils, buy new eraser tips for them. Half used block erasers still have plenty of use to them! Not only will it save you money in August (when school supply lists come out), it’s better for the planet.

Pencils – sharpen and reuse

Erasers – reuse it

Pencil boxes – clean and reuse

Colored pencils – sharpen and reuse

Plastic folders – if there are no rips or tears, reuse it

Spiral notebooks and composition books – if they haven’t been used much, just tear out the used pages and use the book again

Glue Sticks – if it still has glue in it, reuse it

Stuff you can replace (next year):

In January and February, we talked about single-use plastics and alternatives to using disposable water bottles and plastic lunch baggies. If you haven’t done this already, this is a great time to replace those single-use items with something you can use over and over again.

Instead of contributing to the almost 1 million plastic bottles that are used every minute, pack a reusable water bottle (plastic or aluminum) next year! Not only are they less expensive, they’re better for the planet than juice boxes or bottled water. And if you like a little flavor with your water, make up a pitcher of juice and add it to your water bottle to replace your juice box in your lunch every day (instead of using a non-recyclable juice box and straw).

It is estimated that the average person uses 540 plastic sandwich bags every year! By using a plastic or aluminum container for your lunch next year, you can feel awesome about saving the planet (and your food won’t get squished if someone accidentally steps on your lunch bag). It’s a win-win!!

Stuff you can repurpose:


If you’re feeling crafty, you can repurpose your crayons in lots of ways, from making ornaments to candles to art…

11 Cool Things To Do With Broken Crayons

Stuff you can recycle:

Dried-up Markers:

Collect all of your dried up markers, highlighters and dry erase markers and leave them at Carrollwood!! Through the Crayola ColorCycle program, Carrollwood collects used/dried markers and highlighters and sends them back to Crayola for them to be recycled and/or repurposed. Just bring them to the front office and we will take care of the rest!


Spiral notebooks and composition books:

This one definitely takes a little more time and effort but if you’re feeling love for the trees, you can put on a good movie and spend a few minutes tearing the paper from your spiral notebooks to recycle. The wire from the notebook CANNOT be recycled so you must tear the paper out of it if you want to recycle the paper.

And finally, stuff you can donate:

If you don’t want to reuse your school supplies, you can donate them (as long as they are in good shape). We are partnering with Forest Hills Elementary (Mrs. Gordon’s school) to collect school supplies to share with students at her school. If you don’t want to reuse your school supplies and they are still in good condition, just leave them with your teacher at Carrollwood and they will be delivered to Forest Hills Elementary.


If you’re looking for ways to recycle more of the products in your home, TerraCycle is a great place to start. Every month, they have new initiatives to recycle products that are difficult to recycle in other places.


As always, doing little things every day will add up to a HUGE difference over time so just star