Back to School: School Supplies with an Impact

By Michael Hotard

It’s that time of year when you start to see photos pop up across social media feeds of children waiting outside their front doors with their backpacks and lunch boxes.

“[Insert child’s name]’s FIRST DAY OF [insert grade number] GRADE  😭 This year, instead of walking down to the street to hop on a school bus, many children across the U.S. will be heading right back inside to their computers for their first day at P.S. Zoom, or Zoom Junior High, or Zoom prep, or Zoom.. okay you get it. 

If last spring is any indication, an unconvincing minority of parents (43%) agree that remote learning will prepare their child for the next grade. And still, many (depending on their local school district and state) may be heading back to school in-person, causing anxiety amongst 66% of parents in the U.S. for their family’s health and safety. 

Parents, students, and educators are in unfamiliar back to school territory.

According to Deloitte’s annual back-to-school survey, this heightened anxiety, concerns about effectiveness of virtual learning, and fears of a depressed economy will undoubtedly alter the annual back-to-school shopping landscape. 

While the last thing on someone’s mind right now might be “how can I ensure my back-to-school purchases have a positive impact on people and planet?”, back-to-school shopping has an enormous impact each year. The seasonal commerce bump estimates out to $28 BILLION a year across the U.S. When comparing this to annual consumer expenditure data from the Bureau of Labor statistics, this one-month shopping spree amounts to a whopping 15% of annual spend on education consumer products. With those numbers, now more than ever, we can’t afford to NOT think about how our purchases are making an impact.

So we’ve compiled a small list of easy-to-buy-from companies that will not only have an impact on your child’s learning but will also have a positive ripple effect elsewhere:

Bixbee Buzz

  • Ergonomically designed backpacks for kids (they also have lunchboxes, pencil cases, and other supplies too).
  • With each backpack purchase, a school bag with supplies is donated to a child in need
  • Certified B Corporation

For Purpose Kids

  • Responsibly sourced products (art and reading toolkits) that engage children in fun and interactive activities to build empathy for people, animals, and the environment.
  • For every Toolkit purchased, 5 meals are donated to kids at the Sunaayy Foundation


  • Everyday essentials for Kindergarten through High School learning
  • For every item purchased, Yoobi donates a school supply item to a child in need right here in the U.S. through the Kids in Need Foundation
  • Impact count: 73 million supplies donated, 5 million kids impacted

The Good Pencil Company


  • School supply buying platform partnered with Office Depot that donates 50% of profits back to the registered school
  • Register your school’s supply list at no cost to the school to pass savings on to parents in need
  • Can be used as an alternative buying option in addition to any current companies handling school supply lists

Better World Books

  • A social good book buying platform that donates and recycles books through each purchase
  • Funds annual literacy grants to libraries and educational nonprofit literacy groups
  • Certified B Corp

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