You’re Teaching Sustainability in Elementary School, but What About in Fundraising Efforts?

Tim Ahern | October 10, 2018

Your kids might be learning all about sustainability at school, but is this followed-up by sustainability elsewhere?

This is a question we want to ask, specifically about your school fundraising efforts.

There are thousands of options to raise money for your child’s school activities. However several of the go-to’s, we (along with others) argue, are not good for the planet.

Even just looking at Christmas-time-oriented fundraisers.

1. Wrapping paper sales, coupon books, and magazine subscriptions:

These waste paper as many of these fundraisers still don’t use recyclable paper or people buy these products and throw them out when they realize they don’t need them.

2. Cookie dough & candy sales

Sugar production has been harmful to the planet, so unless they do so in a sustainable manner, they get a poor rating in terms of environmentally-friendly fundraisers. Besides that, they don’t exactly promote healthy eating.

3. Candles

Traditional candles are made from “petroleum-based paraffin wax, which is said to give off many toxins similar to diesel and petrol” (

So how can you be sure your teaching sustainability in your fundraising efforts?

1. Recycle people’s clutter


Look for an opportunity where you can help remove wasted items and goods.

For example, you can coordinate a used-book fundraiser. Simply collect unwanted books from friends, family, libraries, and even used bookstores, and then sell them at a discounted price. Turns out, most books will be wanted by somebody, you just have to get them to the right person. This post from explains how this works.

This can also be done with furniture, clothes, bikes and the like!

What this teaches students:

This will show them that it is a common tendency for people to let things go to waste, which, as a result, means more and more junk overcrowding our planet. They will see that their effort can help reduce this problem. It will also illustrate the value of things – that we shouldn’t carelessly collect more and more stuff, without realizing what we already have. The more we can stop wasting usable products, the smaller our ecological footprints.

2. Selling fair-trade products

If you like the idea of selling a product, our first vote is working with us of course. But if you’re looking for a spring fundraiser, you may consider one of these Fair Trade options. There are new fundraising efforts that help students sell these products like coffee, chocolate, and tea. This site will send you a catalog of options.

If you don’t know much about the benefits of fair trade for the environment, you can read about it here: In short, Fair Trade farming promotes more sustainable methods of raising and producing products. They also don’t use dangerous pesticides and herbicides that are harmful to the environment and consumer’s health.

What this teaches students:

Students can learn about what it means to purchase products mindfully – considering the environment and the workers that make the product. They can dive deeper into what Fair Trade is now so they know if they would like to support it later on in life.

3. Recycle items beyond the norm

Most students learn about recycling cardboard and plastic from a young age, but not as many understand how to recycle beyond those basic items. There are organizations that support recycling items like wrappers and aerosol cans. Find a huge list at

What this teaches students:

Students learn how to be sensitive to all the possibilities in recycling. Rather than throwing out anything and everything that doesn’t include a recycling sign on the package, they might get used to recycling other products.


At Evergreen, we are big believers in sustainability. We wouldn’t be operating if what we were doing was bad for our planet. Find out more with this infographic on what makes our wreath fundraiser an environmentally-friendly option. And for several more sustainable fundraising options, check out Green Child’s 10 favorite eco-friendly fundraiser ideas.