We weren't always ecstatic to go back to school, but we liked the shopping part. It meant family togetherness, and made us kids feel important. Education mattered. Still does, of course, and nowadays most schools add environmental learning to the mix. Fresh from camp or summer fun at the park, the kids in your life are feeling good about trees, and they'll be motivated to help find greener school supplies. After all, forests store 50 percent of the world's terrestrial carbon, and 100 percent recycled paper uses 44 percent less energy, emits 38 percent less greenhouse gases, 41 percent fewer particulates, and wastes 50 percent less water than paper from virgin forests, according to a recent report from the non-profit Environmental Paper Network.

It's also never too early for kids to learn about evaluating businesses. When you shop at the big box stores, take along Dogwood Alliance/Forest Ethics report card that grades these businesses on their forest impact. Staples and Kinkos both got the top grade, only a B-plus, alas. Still, you can find green paper products at Staples, including a 30 percent post-consumer-recycled (PCW) steno pad, and Kinko's/Fedex has pledged to source 30 percent PCW, PCF (processed chlorine free) paper.

Here are some suppliers and products that get green A's from us:

* Domtar FSC-certified printing paper   

* 100 percent recycled, 30-100 percent PCW filler paper, post-its, and file folders; 10-30 percent PCW pocket organizers; and up to 50 percent PCW plastic binders, from Treecycle.com.

* 100 percent recycled, 30 percent PCW, colorful twin-pocket portfolios from Greenlinepaper.com.

This article originally appeared in Plenty in August 2008. The story was added to MNN.com.

Copyright Environ Press 2008

Green school supplies: Recycled paper
In school, what lesson could be more important than going green?