Waste Free School Lunch Ideas

So school is on again and it’s back to making school lunches, EVERYDAY this year, so I once again am faced with the adventure of making Autumn’s lunch waste-free and healthy. I love it actually because it is a great opportunity to teach my daughter more about making healthy choices. We have a lot of fun shopping for snacks and packing the lunch together. This year I was very pleased to have stumbled upon this…

A Bento-Kit, made from Laptop Lunches. The kit is really neat because it come with little containers that are made with no lead, Phthalates, PVC, or BPA. The colorful little containers fit perfectly within the laptop case, which fits perfectly in the lunch kit. It’s like putting together a puzzle, which makes it more fun for kids.

It comes with a stainless steel fork and spoon too!

It costs $39.95, which seems pretty steep, but the cost of buying a lunch kit and containers (not BPA, PVC, lead or phthalate-free) or plastic baggies all year long would be much more and it comes with the stainless steel utensils. Plus, when you pack your own snacks, you are saving more money than buying pre-packaged snacks.

I am very happy with it anyway and suggest you consider it, if not buy your own plastic or glass containers and stainless steel water bottle or plastic drink bottle for your kids to save on generating waste by purchasing juice boxes and using plastic baggies.

Here are my tips for an Eco-friendly school lunch

  • Buy containers for sandwiches, juice and snacks that are reusable. Pack your kids lunch in those containers and stop sending your kids snacks and sandwiches in little plastic bags and please STOP with the juice boxes!
  • Send utensils from home that your child will use and bring back afterward
  • If you send napkins with your child to school, send a cloth one instead
  • Buy your own pretzels, cheese and crackers, raisins, fruit source bites (for fruit snacks), applesauce or yogurt and portion out a serving for your child in a reusable container. It is way healthier and cheaper for you too!

Some other tips for making lunch packing more convenient:

  • Pack your child’s lunch the night before school. When you are putting your leftovers away, portion out some for your child’s lunch in a reusable container at the same time.
  • Throw in some fresh fruit (easy)
  • Buy snacks from bulk bins to reduce your costs.
  • Write your name on all your containers to make sure they do come home after school.

and consider this…

Amy Hemmert and Tammy Pelstring, two California moms who were appalled to learn that a typical American school kid generates 67 pounds of discarded school lunch packaging waste per school year. That’s more than 18,000 pounds yearly for the average-sized elementary school.“If every American child attending a public elementary school packed a waste-free lunch, 1.2 billion pounds of lunch waste would be diverted from landfills each year,” says Hemmert. “Landfills would last longer, and children would learn the importance of protecting the planet.”

Why should we care about packing more Eco-friendly lunches for our kids? It is healthier, it costs less, it reduces waste and these are our children we are talking about! This is the planet that they and their children are going to have to inhabit for many more generations. Think of the big picture over the few extra minutes it takes to portion out your child’s snacks.

Also talk to your kids about the importance of why we need to recycle and if you do buy yogurt or applesauce in plastic packaging, have them bring the containers home or rinse them out and school to be recycled.

To go even further…

  • Talk to other students, parents, and teachers about the benefits of packing a more Eco-friendly, waste-free lunch. Post signs in the lunch area and send informative notices home to families. Get students, parents, teachers, and administrators involved. If possible, schedule a field trip to the landfill or recycling facility so students will understand where their trash goes.
  • Start a waste-free lunch program at your school