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  • Jenica Barrett

The Ultimate List of Zero Waste School & Office Supplies

School supplies are one of those items many of us need year after year. We fill up our backpacks with plastic markers, virgin paper, and toxic glue. Have you ever wondered what green, sustainable school supplies are out there though?

What if this year your backpack was made from recycled polyester and filled with pencils made from newspaper, refillable ink pens, plant based glue, and a staple-less stapler? Can you picture it??

This list of zero waste school and office supplies is a shopping list for any student! You'll find everything you need on this list, including:

  • Notebooks & recycled paper

  • Pens, pencils, highlighters

  • Paints, crayons, colored pencils

  • Staplers, erasers, glue, scissors

  • Pencil pouches

  • Backpacks, book bags, shoulder bags

  • Laptop cases and sleeves

  • Snack bags

If you’re looking specifically for gifts to give students in your life, check out our list of zero waste gift ideas for students!

This post contains affiliate links where I earn a small commission on any purchased made through them.

The Ultimate List of Zero Waste School & Office Supplies


Notebooks, Binders & Recycled Paper


pencil pouches made from upcycled feed bags


A small farm in Colorado raises goats to make artisan goat milk soap. With all of their feed bags, they upcycle them into pencil pouches and zipper bags! You can pick from all different types of animals found on the feed bags and from a variety of sizes. Perfect for carrying classroom supplies or stashing toiletries in your backpack!

Ruled Spiral Decomposition Notebook


The Ruled Spiral Decomposition Notebook from Decomposition is made in the USA from 100% post-consumer recycled paper that is recyclable at the end of its life. It contains 80 sheets (160 pages!) of lined college-ruled paper and is printed with soy ink.

zero waste planner


This beautiful planner is made from recycled paper processed in a paper mill in Michigan that runs on 100% hydropower. The cover and inside are also dyed with water-based ink!

Pens, Pencils & Highlighters


Recycled PET Mechanical Pencils


These mechanical pencils are made from used plastic water bottles! How cool is that? The PET plastic is recycled and then transformed into pencils that can be refilled with .7 mm lead. They are even packaged in recycled paper that is dyed with soy-based inks.

sprout plantable pencil with basil seeds


Sprout has taken a traditional pencil and made it SO much cooler! At the tip of every pencil is a capsule with a seed inside. Once you have finished using up the pencil, place the end in the ground and grow it like a plant. Who knew you could be so excited about a pencil as a gift?

Recycled Newspaper Colored Pencils

$7.99 Instead of a traditional pencil made from wood, these pencils have graphite wrapped in recycled newspapers (all post-consumer!) which means these pencils were once being read with the morning coffee. They are packaged in carton paper that is printed with soy-based inks, too.


With a body made entirely from recycled PET from water bottles, and packaging from recycled content, these innovative highlighters come in an assorted color four pack.

Colored Pencils, Paint & Art Supplies

Natural Watercolor Paints


These water color discs are made by hand from cellulose, dextrose, food grade pigments, silica, magnesium stearate and gum Arabic in New Zealand. They are safe for tiny hands and free of any toxic chemicals or unsafe ingredients. The paint brushes are made of natural wood and it's all cutely packaged in a metal tin. It ships plastic free, too!

Recycled Crayon Sticks


These gorgeous, solid colored crayons are made from recycled wax, meaning no virgin wax was used to create them. They made a beautiful gift for an artist of any age!


These lego crayons are made out of the crayon scraps from a classroom in North Carolina. They're melted down into lego shapes and then sold on Etsy! When you open these up, every child (and adult!) will want to take a turn coloring.

Recycled Plastic Ballpoint Pens


Manufactured carbon neutral in Germany, these ballpoint pens are made from 90% post-consumer recycled plastic. They contain black ink and feature a beautiful tri-color hummingbird design on the exterior.

Refillable Ink Refills


If you're going to purchase someone a refillable pen, don't forget the ink! Or maybe you know someone who already has a refillable pen on their desk. This ink can also be used as calligraphy ink!


These pocket sized notebooks are made in the USA from 100% post-consumer recycled paper that is recyclable at the end of its life. It contains 2 notebooks that are printed with soy ink. It has a sewn bound binding, and a unique graphic design on the cover.


This Washi Tape is made from white and kraft paper, processed in Michigan in a paper mill that operates on 100% hydropower. It's dyed with water-based inks and uses a natural rubber adhesive to make it sticky. It's the perfect addition to any craft book or to hang up a poster with a little flare!


Need a blank sketchbook for art class? This sketchbook has 75 pages of recycled white paper from a Michigan paper mill that operates on 100% hydropower! The cover is designed using water-based inks.


This Earth Day inspired coloring book is printed in the USA on 100% recycled paper. Each design is hand-drawn by female artists and features a variety of important topics from composting to appreciating the wilderness.

Desk Supplies (Erasers, Staples, Glue, etc.)


Recycled Rubber Erasers


utilize recycled rubber, instead of raw rubber, to minimize virgin resource extraction. Each eraser in this multi-color three pack is covered with a paper sleeve for easy gripping, and is packaged on a recycled content blister card.

Recycled Paper Sticky Notes


If you're a sticky note user, make sure to purchase sticky notes made with 70% recycled paper!

Bamboo Push Pins


Say goodbye to plastic push pins! These sustainably harvest bamboo pushpins are better for the environment and look way better on your cork boards!

Natural Glue Sticks


This two pack of glue sticks are 100% non-toxic and are made with plant based ingredients that are safe for kids and adults alike.

Plant Based Clear Glue


This glue is a non-toxic formula that is plant based with ingredients like corn starch! You can rest assured that all hands (adults and kids!) are safe to use this in art projects and crafts.

Recycled Plastic Stickers adult sized red


These scissors are made with recycled PET from water bottles for the handles and packed with only recycled content. The packaging is also printed with soy-based dyes!

kid's recycled plastic scissors blue


These kids-sized scissors are made with recycled PET from water bottles for the handles and packed with only recycled content. The packaging is also printed with soy-based dyes!

mini bamboo stapler

Mini Bamboo Stapler


This Mini stapler is made from sustainably harvested bamboo. Did you know bamboo is one of the fastest growing materials on earth? The packaging is made from recycled kraft paper and printed with soy-based ink.

Laptop & Tech Supplies


dual iPhone charging dock made from wood


Spruce of a student's desk with this dual-charging iPhone dock. It's made from FSC Certified wood meaning is comes from responsibly managed forests! The company also plants 1 tree for every order placed. The dock is shipped without any plastic packaging in a cardboard box.

tablet holder made from 500 chopsticks


This tablet holder made out of 500 recycled bamboo chopsticks is sure to turn heads in the classroom! Each holder is made out of 500 bamboo chopsticks that are rescued from being thrown out and glued together with non-toxic adhesives.

Bamboo Computer Mouse


Want a little more natural material in your desk aesthetic? This computer mouse if made from sustainably harvest bamboo! It features 2.4 GHZ wireless technology, is compatible with Windows 2000/98/XP/ME/VISTA/WIN7/WIN8, and features a small USB nano receiver.

Backpacks & Lunch Bags

light blue cork and canvas lunch bag


This beautiful lunch bag is made from both cork and canvas giving it durability and a fun, natural texture. The inside is insolated with pockets on the outside to easily store napkins. It comes in burgundy, green, light blue and dark blue.

Wool Insulated Organic Cotton Lunch Box


This eco-friendly lunchbox is made of 100% unbleached certified organic cotton canvas and 100% wool sewn in for insulation. The color dyes are non-toxic vegetable dyes. It's 100% plastic free!

Wool Organic Cotton Lunch Box


This version is made of 100% organic cotton canvas and 100% wool sewn in for insulation. Even its metal zipper is non-plastic! It comes in a few colors, all dyed with vegetable-based dyes.

jewel blue recycled leather bike bag


For the commuting student, this bag is made with recycled leather. It can be used as a carry bag, shoulder bag, backpack, or bike bag! Featuring three removable straps for easy use and customization.

light blue recycled ocean plastic backpack


This backpack is not only extremely cute but also has an incredibly story behind it! A network of over 2,000 fishermen off the coast of Indonesia collect ocean plastic as bycatch. Each backpack recycles 5.5 lbs of that ocean plastic! Available in a variety of colors.

organic cotton and recycled polyester backpack


Made from GOTS certified organic cotton and padded with recycled polyester felt made from plastic water bottles, this backpack features an interior 15" laptop sleeve and front pouch for pencils and supplies.

recycled newspaper laptop bag


This stylish laptop bag is made from recycled newspaper and ramie leaf materials. It features a zip top and an adjustable strap for easy carrying!

recycled felt fabric laptop sleeve


Each laptop sleeve is made by hand from discarded felt fabric scraps - with no waste generated in their creation! This Etsy shop features a variety of sizes for different style laptops, too!

reusable silicone snack bags for class stasherbags

$9.99 (snack size)

Every student knows that having a few snacks during class is essential to making it through long lectures. Stasherbags are reusable, durable alternatives to ziplocks and fit easily in backpack pockets! You can get them in a variety of sizes and fun colors, too! Simply wash them after each use and reuse them again!

What zero waste school supplies do you use?

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