According to the EPA, the typical American school kid creates 67 pounds of discarded lunch packaging waste per nine-month school year. That’s more than 18,000 pounds of plastic, paper, and other non-food materials for just one average-sized elementary school. We can all help to reduce waste at school by doing a few simple things.
Involve your kids – Have them take a look at their lunchbox to find one thing they can swap out for a reusable alternative.
- Ditch the brown bags for a safe, non-toxic, reusable lunch box.
- Use reusable food containers: Say no to single-serving disposables and to-go containers, and yes to all the great reusable options out there like Pyrex®, non-toxic plastic containers, and stainless steel. Plus, you’ll save money by buying in bulk and portioning out your own snacks.
- Get reusable drink containers – bring your own refillable water bottle and buy drinks like juice in bulk to avoid non-recyclable foil drink pouches and other one-time-use bottled drinks.
- Try reusable sandwich wraps and snack bags- there are many options such as wax, organic cloth, and safe (BPA-free) plastic sandwich wraps and snack pouches.
- Utensils and napkins: metal or sustainable bamboo utensils are excellent options, and you can even pack your organic cotton napkins to wash at home.
- Don’t use straws or swap them for metal or bamboo straws.
Single-use plastics do not always make it to the landfill or get recycled. Thirty-two percent of the plastics produced each year flow into our oceans. That equates to one garbage truck of plastic being poured into our oceans every minute.
Take less than 2 minutes to watch this short video titled The Story of a Spoon
You don’t have to pack a completely no-waste lunch if you are overwhelmed, but if each child could commit to at least one thing, like no plastic water bottles, or no straws, that would make a big difference. We can work together to reduce our impact on the environment!