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Today my summer is officially over, back to school I go. These are some frugal green (eco-friendly) things I do at school to do my share.

Stainless Steel Travel Tea Mug –  If I stopped by a coffee shop every morning to purchase my must needed morning tea, I would shell out… 192 days (including in-service) x $2 a cup = $384! There’s a chunk of change in my pocket! Plus that’s 192 paper cups, cardboard cozies, and plastics lids that are not going into the landfill! Of course my first year, I went through 3 travel mugs, but that’s still more in my pocket and less in the landfill.

Nalgene Water Bottle or Stainless Steel Water Bottle – Talking all day does dehydrate one! I stay hydrated by filling several bottles to lat me the day. If I do have to purchase a plastic water bottle, I refill it as many times as possible before recycling it. My plan this year is to store an extra bottle for the day I leave mine on the counter at home or when I’m running late. If I bought as many disposable plastic water bottles as I drink water, I’d shell out $4 a day x 192 days = $768 and 768 plastic bottles that didn’t need to be made.

Turn Off the Lights – I keep the lights off in my classroom as much as possible, by letting in as much natural light as I can. During the dark winter hours and sometimes on dark cloudy/rainy days I turn on one row of lights and leave off the other row to try to save electricity and cash for my school. It might not be a lot in one year, but in the long run it adds up. Imagine if every teacher did this!

Shut Down My Computer – I have two computers in my classroom, one for student use and my teacher laptop. By shutting them down before I leave for the evening I save some electricity and my school some money.

Lunch – Once a week I take a lunch that doesn’t need to be refrigerated and at least twice a week I pack something that doesn’t need to be microwaved. All my lunches are packed in reusable containers. If I don’t use a brown paper bag, plastic baggies disposable napkins or disposable utensils, I save myself some dough and the landfill.  Estimated savings $40 a year. Packing the cloth napkin is always the hardest to remember.

Saving Paper – I keep a bin for scraps of construction paper when we’re working on projects, I encourage students to find a piece in there before cutting from a new sheet. When my students are also using both sides of their paper. I’m also working on cutting back my use of post-its, by using reusing scratch paper instead.

In one year I’ll have saved $1,192 for myself, some dinero for my school, and a small piece of the environment. What would you do with that extra cash?