No Waste Lunch Day

by John Hamlin 9. July 2008 10:56

Solid waste is a major issue in our country.  According to the EPA, Americans generated 251 million pounds of solid waste in 2006.  It has been estimated that disposable lunches generate as much as 67 pounds of waste per child per school year – that is 18,760 pounds of waste for one average size elementary school.

What can we do in our school’s to reduce the amount of solid waste generated?  Let’s introduce the “No Waste Lunch Day.”  There are many versions of this program, but they all share a common goal – teach our children and families how to Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Compost. 

Make this a school wide program.  It could be a one day event or better yet make it a monthly or even weekly occurrence.  Over time, you will begin to change the patterns and habits of families.  Another great resource!

A typical No Waste Lunch contains no throwaway packaging and produces no food waste. 

  • The lunch is packed in a reusable lunch box. 

  • Pack a cloth napkin instead of disposable napkin and wash at home.

  • The food is put in reusable containers rather than wrapping in disposable packaging. 

  • Use an icepack in your lunch so that food stays fresh until it is eaten.

  • A drink is in a refillable bottle. 

  • Compost partially eaten foods that will not be eaten later in your compost bin at home.

The “No Waste Lunch” is an example of going green being cheaper than the alternative.  You will not need to buy napkins, baggies, and juice boxes.  Multiply that by the number of kids you send to school and the number of days they attend.  Now you can save money, teach our children a valuable lesson and reduce the impact on the environment.

On a personal note, my daughter loves her “No Waste Lunch.”  She uses her Wrap-N-Matt reusable sandwich bag as a cool sandwich wrap system and placemat.  Her Klean Kanteen water bottle keeps her water cool without a bad after taste and the reusable icepack keeps her lunch fresher..which means less waste at home to compost.  (Vermiculture or worm composting will be a future blog topic....kids love it.)

Written by Derek VanDyke – Green Benefits

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Green Education | Sustainability