67 pounds of trash.
That’s how much the average child creates in waste every year with a disposable lunch. (Source: www.wastefreelunches.org)
This trying-to-be-green momma wanted to start the school year off in a kinder way for the environment. So, instead of stocking up on all the plastic baggies, single serving snacks and bottled waters, I did some homework on building a better lunch box. I hope my ideas will inspire you to make a little change, or at least whittle down a few of those 67 pounds of trash.
Building a Greener Lunchbox Ideas:
- Amp Up the Lunchbox — find a reusable lunchbox that rocks. If your kids love it, they will use it and not lose it. My son loves gaming and computers, so I got him the “Laptop Lunchbox” -- a mini laptop style case with cool reusable containers inside. (www.laptoplunches.com) Find out what your child loves and see if you can match your lunchbox to suit their passions. A great source to peruse some clever options is www.lunchboxes.com.
- Size Matters — Find a drink container with a realistic amount of liquid for your child. Last year, I bought a large size reusable water bottle, but realized I was wasting most of it since my child only drank a small portion. Reusable water bottles now come in a variety of sizes to accommodate your needs. My favorite new water bottle is from Camelbak. It has a fun pop up valve that is super easy to clean and a perfect portion. www.camelbak.com.
- Make Your Own Single Serving Snacks — Buying the single portion snacks is certainly a timesaver, but when you calculate the cost of how much you are spending and the additional trash, it’s not really worth it. I decided to get creative in making my own snacks for the week — I had my child pick out bulks items he likes such as yogurt raisins, peanuts, gummy bears, graham crackers, animal crackers and pretzel sticks. Then we mix and match to make our own snack combination. This was more fun, better for the environment and usually healthier in the end.
- Little Things Add Up: It’s easy to forget about small things like napkins, utensils, sandwich wraps — but with a little thought, switching over to greener versions is a snap. Consider using a cloth napkins, reusable utensils and cloth sandwich wraps -- all of these make a big difference when creating trash in the lunchroom. For ideas on recyclable materials for lunchboxes, check out www.reusablebags.com or use resources you already have at home.
Lastly, brainstorm with your kids on ways that they can help cut down on trash. Kids understand and want to make a difference -- this is a great opportunity to pass along a valuable life lesson of taking care of the fabulous resources we have been given. Not only are you eliminating trash, but you are showing them what a good steward of Mother Earth looks like. And that is a lesson any momma (or daddy) could be proud of.
For more information and ideas, check out www.wastefreelunches.org.