After an extended seven-month break, many parents are scrambling to find some sort of normalcy as most kids head back to schools. It’s been a while since much thought has been given to the portable lunch.
Lunch can arguably be one of the most wasteful meals. There’s a lot of single-use packaging and easy grab-and-go options wrapped in plastic. This can mean lots of disposable items from individually packed drinks, one serving yogurts, two cookies wrapped in plastic, the list is extensive!To reduce plastic waste you must take a look at the daily lunch routine.
What is the definition of what zero-waste lunch?
It simply means that individual lunches don’t create any more waste – no packaging, no plastic utensils, no yogurt cups, no squeeze applesauce, no individually wrapped snacks. Basically, at the end of your lunch, there should be no need to put items into the trash can or recycling at all.
Many options exist for zero-waste lunches. When considering packaging for lunch options look at thermoses, reusable water bottles, beeswax wrappers for sandwiches, etc.
Of course, the actual lunch itself represents the last step in the packaging waste chain – give some consideration to the packaging the food comes in from the store and how it is shipped and handled before that. It may seem overwhelming but wherever possible people should try to eliminate single-use packaging earlier in the supply chain as well – i.e. buy in bulk where you can, use reusable bags and containers for grocery shopping and cook from scratch.
Being able to pack food-on-the-go without plastic waste is possible, thanks to so many great products that are available to help with this growing need Some of the zero waste lunch essentials are listed below. Use them as alternatives to replace the most common packaging such as single-use Ziploc bags, cling-wrap, and plastic waste in your lunch.
- Reusable lunch box or lunch bags
- Beeswax food wrap
- Jars of any kind
- Reusable water bottles
- Stainless steel containers
- Bamboo utensils
- Cloth napkins
- Metal tiffins
You can easily create your own single-serving snacks. Buy the largest container of yoghurt in the store and then divide it into small thermoses. Get a large block of cheese to create your own cheese strings or cheese slices. Purchase your favourite snacks and divvy them into small servings, although this is potentially a danger zone for some folks that have difficulties with restraint. There are several ways to reduce the amount of plastic associated with your lunch and I encourage you to take a look at what waste your lunch generates and adjust what you can.
For more information on local recycling services you can refer to the ACRD website at www.acrd.bc.ca/recycling or look check out the Facebook page “Alberni Valley Waste Reduction Education.” To download the free ACRD Recycling and Waste Wizard app go to your mobile app store and find