Tips on Going Back to School Sustainably
Written by BarnManager partner Green Is the New Blue
Summer show season is coming to a close and riders are gearing up for finals. For the younger members of the equestrian community, that means it’s back to school. This week, we’re sharing ways you can be an environmentally conscious student, both at the barn and as you head to school.
Bring Your Own
Refuse to use single-use plastics. Instead, bring your reusable water bottle with you everywhere you go. Schools all have water fountains so you can have faith that you’ll have fresh, cold water. If your barn doesn’t have a water refill station, request that one be added to the tack room or lounge. Pack a lunch in a reusable container and bring home what you don’t eat, minimizing both packaging and food waste. Another good investment is a reusable glass or metal straw and carrying case – this can be great to keep in your bag when going out to eat with friends, or even for drinks at school.
Are you the type of student who picks up coffee before school or the barn? Bring a reusable coffee cup to your local shop, or, better yet, brew your own. Invest in a reusable filter for your machine and buy coffee in bulk. Coffee is water intensive, and farmers may be paid below market value for their crop, so choose shade-grown coffee from companies that can identify the exact source.
Back to School Shopping
Amazingly enough, thrifting is in! There are so many small thrift shops with super affordable vintage items to create that perfect back-to-school statement. Did you know the fashion industry is responsible for 10 percent of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide? If you do buy new, choose quality items that will hold up over time and avoid fast-fashion at all costs.
Sustainable Equestrian Teams
For some students, back to school also means back to team riding. With IEA and IHSA teams comes exciting camaraderie, so use this to make a positive impact. When hosting shows, provide a water refill station, easy access to recycling bins, and minimize plastic in the food booth. Not only will your horse show be more sustainable, but maybe you’ll inspire other teams to take home those ideas to their own barns!
Collect your community service hours and build your resume this school year. Join a Green Team at your school or find other sustainability organizations in your community to work with. This could be anything from supporting a local advocacy group to gaining support for environmental legislation or rehabilitating wildlife at a professional center. If you can’t find the type of organization you’re looking for, start one!
With finals coming up, we commend young riders on their ability to balance their riding careers with their educations. These tips can help you become more sustainable, whether at school, home, or the barn. We wish everyone the best of luck at finals and a fun start to a new school year!