Some parents pull together a packed school lunch so pretty, it’s shared all over social media. Others of us put together everything one night of the week while some hastily throw stuff in a bag before school. No matter how or when it’s readied, a packed lunch is a bit of food love from you to your kid. So while you’re making an effort to craft this on the go meal, why not make it greener and consider the waste it creates? With some forethought, there could be no waste at all!
Zero Waste is a growing trend across the world. It’s defined as recycling and composting 90% of waste from a specific event, location or time period with only 10% or less landfilled. So to make your kid’s lunch waste free, or zero waste, you don’t have to be perfect. Leave them the occasional fun sized Snickers bar with a wrapper that isn’t recyclable, and you can still be considered waste free – close enough! It’s more the effort and thought about what will happen to the leavings of this quickly consumed, lovingly packed lunch.
Skip the brown bag – Get everyone in your house a reusable lunch box or bag. Basic stuff, here. They can be simple, or jazzed up and personalized. Just something you reuse and don’t throw away.
Divide with containers – For your waste free school lunch, don’t use disposable baggies – ever! Invest in some durable and reusable sandwich bags, tins, bentos, mason jars, Abeego flats (compostable wraps made of beeswax and cotton) or other items to contain and divide your kid’s edibles. These all come in a variety of colors, sizes and patterns to match your children’s favorite colors and foods as well as their ever changing moods!
Place settings – If you’re going zero waste, you must also consider napkins and silverware. Maybe this is the time you start using cloth napkins – at home and at school. They’re not more work: just wash with your bathroom and kitchen towels. Pack your kiddos special lunch silverware just for them or your everyday flatware the family uses at home.
Make a no single serving rule – The biggest challenge in packing a waste free lunch is at the grocery store. It’s so easy to buy a prepackaged bundle of single serving applesauce cups, crackers or juice pouches. They are easy to pack but they’re also more costly, use more resources and produce more waste. Make a no prepackaged rule and stick to it!
What’s left?– Remind your kids to bring home their leftover food to finish after school or compost. Emphasize to recycle any non-durable containers at school if they can, or tote them home to recycle. Many schools are starting to recycle milk cartons and juice boxes so inquire if this is an option.
Find more ideas about waste free lunches here. Do you have any secrets to packing a zero waste lunch for your family?