A waste-free lunch means there is NO trash to throw away at the end of the meal — compost items such as banana peels or apple cores do not count as trash. While common lunch products such as single-use bags or aluminum foil are certainly convenient, they also have a significant impact on our environment.
Here are some quick facts about lunch waste:
Aluminum foil: About 600,000 TONS of aluminum foil is produced every year (that is 1.2 billion pounds!).
Aluminum cans: Of the 100 billion cans sold in the US last year, half ended up in the landfill or incinerator.
Fruit peels: Food such as apple cores and banana peels generates harmful greenhouse gases like methane when it decomposes in a landfill — that’s part of why composting is so important!
Paper bags and napkins: An estimated 17 trees are cut down for every ton of non-recycled paper.
Plastic silverware: Annually, Americans throw away enough plastic silverware to circle the equator 300 times.
Furthermore, an average school-age child who uses disposable lunch products generates an estimated 67 pounds of waste per school year. This means that in an average-sized elementary school, 18,760 pounds of lunch waste are generated each year. Imagine if everyone started bringing reusable products for a waste free lunch — it would have such a drastic impact on our landfills and our planet! Read on for a few simple, easy tips on packing a waste-free lunch.
Tips for packing a waste free lunch:
- A lunchbox or cloth bag
- Reusable containers such as reusable snack bags, found in our April boxes, or food storage containers
- A thermos or reusable water bottle for your drink — avoid BPA in your water bottle with this cute glass option!
- A cloth napkin to wash and re-use
- Reusable silverware
Do NOT use:
- A disposable bag, such as a brown paper bag
- Plastic wrap, foil, or Styrofoam
- Single-use cartons or cans such as juice boxes or soda cans
- Paper napkins
- Plastic silverware
These little changes are not difficult to make, yet they have a profound impact on our environment.
For more tips on further reducing the amount of waste you produce, check out this article on reducing your carbon footprints by spending less money!
Kelsey Packard is a project manager in Austin Texas with a Masters in Human Development and Family Studies and certifications in parent-child attachment. She is a mama to two littles. She enjoys writing in her free time and supporting other mothers. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org