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Parent frustrated after finding what school sends student home with: 'Give your school that feedback'

"If you do nothing, it won't change."

"If you do nothing, it won't change."

Photo Credit: iStock

A frustrated parent recently took to Reddit to vent about a surprise "photo funpack" their child brought home from school.

The catch? The items were sent home unsolicited, with the expectation that families would either pay $12 to keep them or send everything back.

What happened?

A Redditor shared their concerns with the r/Anticonsumption community.

"Still more crap coming home from school," the post began.

The parent discovered the photo pack in their child's backpack and opened it to investigate, despite not authorizing or paying for it in advance.

Inside were numerous plastic photo trinkets, all printed and packaged without any upfront agreement from parents. 

The original poster questioned the wisdom and ethics of this model.

I'm "guessing once i send it back they will throw it away anyway," they said. "Why should I give them $12 for this garbage when they gave it to me free anyway?? I dont want it regardless."

Why is this practice concerning?

Beyond the frustration of receiving unsolicited "stuff," the core issue is plastic waste

Cheap plastic trinkets like these photo packs are often used briefly before being discarded, ending up in gas-emitting landfills where they can take hundreds of years to decompose.

Plastic goods are a major contributor to atmosphere-harming pollution. Producing them requires dirty gas, and they frequently wind up being burned or dumped in oceans. Over time, larger plastic pieces break down into microplastics that harm wildlife and enter the food chain.

Reducing the production and consumption of short-lived plastics is critical for the environment.

Are schools doing anything about this?

Some schools have taken proactive steps to cut back on plastic trinkets. One popular approach is adopting "no-stuff" policies for holidays and events, where classes celebrate with special activities instead of goody bags or gifts.

There's also a growing trend of schools replacing disposable utensils and lunch trays with reusable or compostable options. While not directly related to take-home trinkets, it demonstrates an encouraging shift toward more sustainable practices in education.

What can I do to reduce plastic waste?

As awareness of plastic waste grows, many parents are taking matters into their own hands.

You can start by talking with teachers and administrators about ways to minimize plastic trinkets, as a commenter suggested: "Give your school that feedback (nicely), be sure to cc the head of the PTA. If you do nothing, it won't change. Worst thing that happens is the school says no." Suggest alternatives like special dress-up days, games, or experiences to mark milestones and holidays.

Other steps you can take:

• Choose school supplies made from recycled materials or renewable resources like bamboo.
Pack lunches in reusable containers instead of single-use plastic bags.
Donate outgrown school clothes and gear to avoid sending them to landfills.
• Model sustainable habits at home, like proper recycling.

By shifting norms around plastic use, we can turn the tide on harmful waste while still celebrating our kids.

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