The average school-age child who packs a lunch generates 67 pounds of waste per school year. That works out to 18,760 pounds of lunch waste for just one average-size elementary school.
So what can you and your children do to reduce the waste? Here are a few tips inspired by Greenopia. Their Greenopia city guidebooks are an easy-to-understand consumer guide filled with local listings for green retailers, service providers, and organizations.
- Use reusable drink containers instead of disposable juice boxes, juice pouches, cans, and plastic bottles. An insulated sports bottle works well if your kids are too big for sippy cups. They can fill it up at the water fountain at school. Water is cheaper and healthier, too.
- Avoid using plastic wraps, plastic bags, wax-paper bags, and aluminum foil - opt for plasticware instead. Even Gladware containers are a good choice. They can be recycled and if your child accidentally throws them out, they’re fairly inexpensive. A bento box type container (I have the Easy-to-Clean Zojirushi SL-JAE14 Mr. Bento Stainless-Steel lined Lunch Jar in Silver and love it!) is a good choice, too – plus they’re fun to use.
- Cut down on packaging waste by purchasing foods in larger containers that you can recycle at home rather than buying many smaller packaged products. It’s usually cheaper to buy in bulk, too.
- Choose lunch boxes or backpacks over paper or plastic bags. Get insulated cooler bags and use a re-freezable ice pack to keep your lunch cold.
- Replace paper napkins with cloth versions. If you think your child will lose a cloth napkin (I do!) try finding paper towels or napkins made from recycled paper.
- Pack stainless-steel utensils instead of using disposable plastics. Again, your child may lose these or accidentally throw them away. An option would be to prepare foods that you don’t need a utensil for – sandwiches, veggies and dip, etc. If that’s not possible, try to find plastic spoons that can be recycled like Recycline Recycled Plastic Cutlery.
For more green ideas and products see Amazon Green.
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