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Does your child weigh more than the waste his/her lunch produces?

August 10, 2009

Did you know…

  • It’s been estimated that a school-age child who carries his/her lunch to school generates (on average) 67 pounds of waste every school year.  How many kids carry their lunches in your child’s school?  Imagine the pounds of garbage coming out of that cafeteria.
  • Much of the trash we generate comes from the packaging in the foods we buy.
  • You can save money on school lunches if you pack a “green” lunch for your child before sending him/her out the door in the morning.

When we started to turn our family a shade of green in January, one of the first things we did was look at Sam’s lunchbox.  Every day I was sending him with a lunchbox full of disposable stuff – plastic bags, little boxes of raisins, small cups of applesauce or pudding, a juice box, and plastic spoons.  Whoa.  He and I worked together to make some major changes that we could both be proud of, and it was really easy.

  1. Buy a lunchbox and a reusable water bottle.  Both are especially easy to find during back-to-school sales.  Nix the juice boxes and fill the water bottle with your child’s drink of choice instead.
  2. Buy reusable sandwich and snack containers.  You can find both stainless steel or plastic containers that hold everything from sandwiches to dessert.  No more ziploc bags!  And have you seen that cute single-serving cupcake carrier?  All of these things are washable and can be used every day.
  3. Nix the plastic utensils.  Sam and I stopped by the dollar store and bought some cheap spoons for his lunchbox.  Again, washable and they can be used all year.
  4. No more individually packaged snacks.  I know they’re convenient, but if you think about the impact they have on the world, are they really worth the convenience?  It’s so easy to buy a regular-sized package of cookies or crackers and pull out a few to put in your reusable containers to send in your child’s lunch.  Plus, you might be able to reuse or recycle the original container.
  5. And if you really want to have a 100% green lunchbox, switch from paper napkins to cloth ones.  (I admit, this is the one step we haven’t taken.)

This is a great way to get your kids involved in seeing their world through different eyes.  They (and you) really can make a difference.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. August 10, 2009 11:59 pm

    It is amazing how much the kids throw away at our school. They eat about half of what their parents pack for them. I try to balance the plastic/paper disposible products with the washable stuff. I do buy in bulk and make my own individual packs of food, unfortunately in plastic baggies, sometimes we are able to reuse if it is “clean” foods such as cookies but not fruits. This year I think I will invest in good thermos bowls so that I can pack more hot foods for them. The little containers I have now do not keep their food so hot. This is a great post with good ideas.

  2. August 11, 2009 3:12 am

    YAY! Guess what? We were green and we didn’t even know it! Because my kids aren’t keen on prepackaged foods I don’t buy them. Joe packs lunches uses tupperware containers for everything except her yogurt.
    ~ingrid

  3. August 11, 2009 3:33 pm

    I especially like your point at the end. It helps to do it right from the beginning.

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