Packing a “zero waste” lunch (that’s healthier for your child and the planet)
School is back in swing and, for many parents, that means packing disposable lunches.
But did you know that according to www.wastefreelunches.org doing so creates an average of 67 pounds of waste per year? For the average elementary school, that’s 18,000 pounds a year. For the entire country of elementary schools? It equals 1.2 billion pounds.
Fear not, busy moms and dads, we’ve got six simple ways you can save the planet and your money, too.
1. Do away with disposable paper bags and choose reusable lunch boxes, bags or baskets instead. Be sure they’re durable (so they’ll last) and PVC and lead-free. Bags or boxes made of recycled materials such as old soda bottles earn you bonus points.
2. Pack food in reusable containers rather than disposable paper, wax, foil or plastic. This option is also the safest for your child when you choose organic cotton, stainless steel or glass instead. How to save money? Save small glass jars from other foods and reuse for lunches.
3. Send beverages in reusable stainless steel containers. Skip the plastic and coated aluminum.
4. Use cloth napkins. Buy or make yourself using pinking shears and squares cut from (sturdy) fabric scraps. Cotton and naturally anti-microbial hemp are ideal materials.
5. Choose reusable utensils: stainless steel (find at a thrift store) or bamboo.
6. Ask your child to bring all uneaten food and food scraps home. Compost. OR, talk to your child’s school about starting a composting program there.
School activity: Our 4th annual ChicoBag & Green Halloween trick-or-treat design contest will soon be open for all children up to age 13! What a fun, fall activity for family or classroom. Last year’s contest was featured in Real Simple magazine and 10% of the sale of the bags support the national Green Halloween® initiative. If your student artist would like to enter, click here for details. BONUS: Here’s a free Green Halloween teacher’s toolkit with even more ways to celebrate the season sustainably!