How Your Child's School Lunch Can Save the World

Before you call it a day on back to school shopping, think about how you're sending your child's lunch to school. 'The New York Times' recently reported on the push among many schools to make lunches waste-free. Whether or not this is the trend where you live, going green at lunch is a great way to reduce waste, save money and teach your child about helping the environment. Read on for five tips on how your child's school lunch can help save the world!

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No More Brown Bags

When you're looking to make your child's school lunch more green, a great place to start is with the package that holds the lunch. Brown paper bags are not only a surefire way to squish a sandwich, they're also an unnecessary waste of resources. Consider switching to a reusable lunch bag or box. While the upfront cost may be higher, reusable bags can be washed and reused indefinitely. You can also find ones with linings that both protect the food and keep it cold.

Swap Sandwich Bags with Plastic Containers

If you're using sandwich bags to house sandwiches, fruit, cookies or any other lunch item, you've probably realized that you go through them quickly. When you consider the resources required to manufacture them and how long they'll sit in a landfill, it makes sense to replace them with reusable plastic containers, such as Tupperware. As a bonus, hard plastic containers protect the peanut butter and jelly or potato chips from the abuse a lunch may take on its journey to the cafeteria.

Avoid Single-Use Packaging

Single-serve items are wonderfully convenient, whether it's a bag of chips, a container of yogurt or a small package of cookies. Yet their convenience is outweighed by their wastefulness. A greener option is to buy products in bulk and put them in smaller, reusable containers. In addition to saving the world, this method is also likely to save you money, as single-serve items are typically more expensive. Also, remember that plastic bags, plastic utensils and many other items that are sold as single-use can actually be washed and reused many times.

Invest in a Water Bottle

While plastic water bottles, soft drink cans and juice boxes can be recycled, their original production and recycling require extensive natural resources, not to mention the fact that they don't always end up in the recycling bin. A washable, reusable water bottle, such as a Thermos, is a terrific alternative. As a perk, using a bottle you fill yourself may make you more inclined to send your child to school with a healthy drink, like water, rather than a sugar-filled juice or soft drink.

Go Compostable

Instead of using plastic cutlery, seek out biodegradable utensils that are made of plant-based material. The trick with compostable materials is to ensure that they'll end up where they can compost. If they come to rest inside a plastic trash bag amidst non-compostable material, then they're not providing much benefit. If not already available, encourage your child's school to offer a compost bin; these are also ideal for diverting food waste from the landfill.

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