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!