It’s back-to-school time, so why not give your kids a lesson in eco-friendly school lunches? Each child taking a disposable lunch to school creates an average of 67 pounds of trash during the school year — that translates to millions of pounds of garbage each year. Waste-free lunches not only help reduce garbage in our landfills, but can result in cost savings to our schools in the form of reduced trash fees.
Here are some ideas to help make your child’s lunch box a little kinder on the environment:
- When you use plastic baggies for dry snacks like pretzels or granola bars, ask the child to bring them home and simply refill them with the same or similar item for the next day.
- For “wet” items like carrots or apple slices, you can just put the empty baggie into the fridge until lunch-packing time and use it again at least once, if not twice.
- If your child is responsible enough, use a real utensil instead of a plastic one. Or just ask for the plastics to be brought home and wash those!
- Put sandwiches in plastic containers instead of wrapping in foil or plastic.
- Recycle your juice pouches.
- Buy in bulk and divide into smaller portions. Items such as applesauce or yogurt can be put into a small plastic container.
- Reuse plastic packaging. When the bread is gone, a sandwich can go in the empty bread bag for a few days. Same goes for bags of nuts, and even cereal and cracker inserts.
- Send cloth napkins to school so your child won’t have to use paper ones. Sounds a little kooky, but in no time at all you’ll get used to throwing them in the wash with your other towels. Think how much paper you’ll save!
- Encourage kids to bring home their leftovers. You will learn what they like and don’t like and you can compost most of what is left over.