Did you know that the average elementary school-age child brings in approximately 67 pounds of waste each school year if they bring a disposable lunch every day? That would almost 25,000 pounds of waste for Blakeburn!
Luckily many Blakeburn families are switching to litterless lunches for their kids, keeping unnecessary waste out of their kid’s lunches and off our school yard! Read on for tips to make the switch to litterless lunch:
1. Get the goods.
If you don’t have reusable food containers, or want to start from scratch, you’ll want to invest in some that will work for your child’s favourite foods and fit in their lunch kit. Compartmentalized containers, like bento boxes, various sized Tupperware-like storage units, or washable bags work well. Add a refillable water bottle, cloth napkin, and reusable cutlery, and you are set.
Get ideas for reusable products:
- Laptop lunches: http://www.wastefreelunches.org/laptop-lunches-coupon.html
- Litterless juice boxes by Rubbermaid
- Easylunchboxes: http://www.easylunchboxes.com/blog/product-info/
- Thermapod: http://thermapod.ca/products.html
- Fenigo: http://www.fenigo.com/
2. Buy in bulk.
Skip the individually packaged Goldfish crackers or mini yogurts and pick up normal or bulk-sized packages of your child’s favourites that you can divvy up into the containers. Stock up on healthy foods like fruits and vegetables that don’t come in any packaging! You’ll save money too - studies show you can save a third of what you were spending before going litterless.
Get ideas for what to put into litterless lunches:
- A Month of Litterless Lunch Ideas for a Balanced School Day (PDF): http://schoolweb.tdsb.on.ca/Portals/jackman/Docs/WeeklyNews/LitterlessLunch.pdf
- What’s for Lunch at Our House Blog: http://www.bentolunch.net/
- Waste Free Lunch Slideshows: http://www.wastefreelunches.org/Resources.html
3. Prep ahead.
To really make this worthwhile, prep what you can ahead of time and enlist your child to help. If you have five sets of containers, you can pre-load snacks, pre-cut veggies, and dole out yogurt or drinks on Sunday night, then add whatever else the night before. Or if you’re reusing the same containers, teach your child rinse and refill their snack and drink containers every night.
- Tips for Parents: http://www.wastefreelunches.org/parents.html
Making changes in your family is not always easy, and if it still feels overwhelming, take it one step at a time. You coudl start with encouraging your the kids to take their drink boxes home and refill baggies. Next, replace those boxes and baggies with containers. And so on. Besides saving money for your family, you’re saving your school as well from wasting money on trash removal. Of course you’re helping the environment too by keeping waste out of the landfill. But more importantly you’re supporting your child to make this positive change!