As summer ends, kids are heading back to school. School lunches can involve a lot of single use plastic, but we’ve got some easy ideas to make for a more sustainable school lunch. We’d love to know what environmentally friendly choices you’ve made for your kid’s lunch their year, or for your lunch! Send us a picture on Twitter, Facebook , or Instagram and we’ll share it with others to help inspire them!
Select a sustainable school lunch box
When I was little it seemed like we all had those plastic lunch boxes with cartoon characters on the front, but now there’s lots of more sustainable school lunch containers. There’s old school metal boxes, as well as fancy new bento boxes and tiffins. I included a picture of a tiffin, as I’d never heard of one before. Want some more ideas? Treehugger put together a slide show of some great plastic-free lunch containers options.
Skip the individually wrapped foods
Did you know that food pouches can’t be recycled? While they are convenient, these packets are an example of something that is used once and then will sit in a landfill for generations. If your kiddo loves applesauce, skip the GoGoSqueeze and get a large glass jar and spoon some out in a reusable container each day. Crackers, raisins, and other snack foods can also be purchased in larger containers and doled out over the week. Buying in bulk is also a great way to save money!
3. Reach for reusable sandwich bags and containers
Another place to eliminate plastic is skipping ziploc bags. Instead consider a reusable container or a waxed fabric sandwich bag. If you’re crafty, you can even make reusable bags at home. Plaine Products co founder, Ali Webster, made some for me and I love them. As crafts go it’s relatively easy. Just google DIY reusable snack or sandwich bags and get sewing!
4. Buy locally
If you buy food that’s grown locally, you’re not only supporting your own community, but you’re also reducing the carbon footprint of your food by cutting down on the distance it’s shipped. Check out your farmer’s market, or local grocery for some more local options. If you’re at a chain, look for signage in the fruit section to see where it’s grown. Buying local fruit that’s in season can also help you switch it up to keep you and the kids from getting bored.
5. Pack a water reusable bottle
Just like those little food pouches, juice pouches (like Capri Sun), are mostly unable to be recycled. Juice boxes and plastic soda bottles aren’t much better. Even when recycling is possible, it’s a much more eco-friendly option to go for a refillable bottle. Again, the options are now endless, so let your kids pick out a fun water bottle with some personality so they want to hang on to it!