Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Green Term of the Week: Trashless Lunch (Going Back to School in Green Style: Part 3)

First of all, I realized that I completely forgot to do a green term last week. So those of you who wait on the edge of your seat on Wednesdays waiting for a new term - very sorry!

Now, on to this week's green term - Trashless Lunch. I've talked about this before. I think our first mini eco-challenge mentioned it. But with back to school about a month away, it deserves its own post.

When you take a lunch to school or work or anywhere else, if you put everything in reusable containers, bring durable utensils to eat with, and add a cloth napkin to your reusable lunch bag, you have created a trashless lunch. When you leave the table (or desk) you're eating at, there is nothing to go in the trash. It all goes back in the lunch bag to be taken home, washed, and reused again.

A trashless lunch means that no packaged foods are added to the lunch, too. Juice boxes or drink pouches or bottled water. Can't have them. Individually wrapped granola bars. Nope. Make your own and put them in reusable containers.

If students could start doing this in schools, it would be huge. My son's awesome third grade teacher last year, Mrs. King,  talked to her kids about this. I think all teachers should do so.

As you're getting ready for back to school this year, take a look at what you have available to send with your kids to make sure they have a trashless lunch. Here's what I know I need to make sure that both my boys won't make any unnecessary trash.
  • Two lunch boxes 
  • Two small reusable drink containers
  • Two sandwich containers
  • Two reusable thermoses (they like to take soup)
  • old utensils that I don't care if they end up getting lost 
  • cheap cloth napkins
  • a few containers with lids for snacks
There are lots of products available from eco-friendly websites to help you create a trashless lunch, but really, you've probably already got most of what you need in your kitchen cabinets somewhere.

Why are trashless lunches important?

  • Most importantly, they reduce the amount of trash that ends up landfills.
  • They teach kids that living in a "throwaway society" isn't the only way to go.
  • They can be an example to the other kids and the teachers.
  • They will probably end up being more healthy for your kids because they will be eating a lot less pre-packaged processed foods.
Cool Dr. Seuss lunchbox picture courtesy of Wikemedia Commons

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