W = Waste Free Lunch
Rethink the way you pack to send a lunch for your kids and create less waste.
Packing your child’s lunch is an excellent way to make sure they’re eating a healthy, well-balanced meal even when they’re away from home, but it can also lead to a lot of extra trash in your local landfill. Plastic bags, saran wrap, and disposable drink containers can add up to a heap of waste leftover from a nutritious lunch. Rethink the way you pack to send a lunch that’s healthy for your kids, your wallet, and the environment.
An average middle school student creates 67 pounds of waste every year with trash from their lunch!
- Ditch the paper and plastic bags.
- Let your kids pick out an insulated, reusable container that to pack their lunch in every day. This is a great chance to talk to them about using quality containers that can be re-used instead of disposable containers. Try a bento box for a fun way to assemble a cool lunch!
- Pack sandwiches in safe reusable containers or cloth wrappers.
- You can find reusable containers in an endless variety of sizes and shapes, and cloth wrappers are a lovely addition to any lunch box. Consider labeling your containers with your child’s name and remind them to bring them home at the end of the day.
- Choose whole foods that don’t need packaging.Many whole foods like apples and bananas come complete with their own edible, waste-free packaging!
- Compost the crust.
- There’s no need to throw away apple cores or uneaten food. Talk to your kids about bringing food scraps home to add to the family compost pile. Encouraging your kids to bring home all food scraps can also make it easier to monitor exactly how much your kids are (or aren’t) eating during lunch.
- Fill a thermos. You can talk to your kids about recycling aluminum cans or other drink containers, but it’s infinitely better to use refillable water bottles and thermoses filled with a healthy beverage of your choice to create less waste and reduce the energy needed to recycle items.
The EPA website provides more suggestions for packing a waste-free lunch. WasteFreeLunches.org offers research, resources, tips and case studies. Lunch in a Box is the guru for fun, low-waste lunches.