You know what I'm talking about because we've all been there.
Lunchables®, bagged chips, juice-in-a-bag, yogurt-in-a-tube... bottled drinks, utensils… It’s items like these that can make lunchtime the most wasteful part of the day, whether you’re a kid or a grown-up.
According to the EPA, the typical American school kid creates 67 pounds of discarded lunch packaging waste per school year. That’s more than 18,000 pounds of plastic, paper, and other non-food materials for just ONE average-sized elementary school.
Why do we do it?
There is nothing more satisfying than tossing 3 or 4 packaged item in a lunch box in the morning. How organized we feel!
I know…I've been there.
Plus, kids love it. They love opening a lunch to find colorful packages of mini muffins or fruit snacks.
But aiming for a zero-waste school lunch doesn’t have to mean sacrificing convenience. In fact, packing zero-waste school lunches for your kids can help you:
Streamline your routine
Save money by avoiding expensive pre-portioned snacks
Limit your kids’ exposure to plastics like BPA and BPS
Make fewer trips to the store
Reduce the food and plastic waste you send to landfills
First, you need the basics…a lunchbox, washable snack boxes or bags, a reusable drink bottle, utensils and a cloth napkin. Maybe a cold pack. That's it!
Don't use plastic to pack lunches…it isn't safe for food. And, if your kid LOVES a straw…and I know they do!..buy a stainless one.
Containers don't even have to be new or designated for a purpose.
You can wrap a sandwich in a clean cloth and tie it up with string or ribbon.
Same goes with cookies or a homemade granola bar. Remember, they are washable!
If nothing needs to stay cold, you can pack lunch into a reusable shopping bag
Also, a little food prepping at the beginning of the week makes for smoother mornings.
Wash and pre-chop fruits and vegetables and portion out, if you have enough small containers.
Make a batch of granola bars. There are a lot of no-bake recipes out there that kids can do on their own.
Again, it's one habit at a time…but the impact really adds up