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Five Eco-Friendly Ways to Pack Lunches
If you have school-aged children, and you happen to prefer packing their lunches over allowing them to purchase lunch at school, you’ll be packing at least 180 lunches per child, per year! The amount of waste that can be produced from packaging that amount of food can be greatly detrimental to the environment. But, there are ways you can pack eco-friendly lunches for your kids, and these five tips will help you do so.
- Sewn Sandwich Bags
Instead of using hundreds of plastic sandwich and snack bags over the years, simply sew adorable reusable sandwich bags yourself. Instructions can be found online using a simple search. If you’re not the crafty type, you can buy them pre-made online. Not only are these bags adorable, made with cute fabric, snaps, buttons, and trim, but they’re also excellent for the environment. Keeping plastic bags out of the landfills is a noble effort indeed.
- Fabric Napkins
Along the same lines as reusable sandwich bags, toss a fabric napkin in your child’s lunchbox instead of a paper one. Again, the fabric can be cute and fun and your child will enjoy seeing a whimsically-printed napkin in his or her lunch each day. Just like the reusable sandwich bags, be sure to remind your child to bring their fabric napkins home to be washed instead of accidentally throwing them away.
- No Straws
Ditch the plastic straws and teach your children that they’re not necessary in order for them to enjoy their beverages. Plastic straws can take hundreds of years to decompose in landfills and often end up in bodies of water, and ultimately in animals’ throats or stomachs. If your family really likes straws, purchase stainless steel straws online that can be reused for years to come.
- Stainless Steel
Some lunch items, such as yogurt, apple sauce, and orange slices, can’t be stored in fabric sandwich bags. Instead, purchase food-grade stainless steel containers for these items. Also, a stainless steel water bottle will last for decades and are much better for the environment that hundreds of discarded juice boxes/pouches. These handy items are a breeze to clean as well when placed on the top shelf of your dishwasher.
- Reusable Lunch Bags/Boxes
This may be a no-brainer, but use a fabric or metal lunch bag/box for your child’s school lunches rather than paper bags. A fabric lunch bag can be made or purchased very inexpensively. Also, stainless steel bento boxes are all the rage now. They’re eco-friendly, durable, easy to clean, and are a cool alternative to fabric or paper lunch bags. Some steel bento boxes can be purchased as kits that include smaller containers for snacks, sandwiches, etc.
You’ll be packing a lot of lunches over the years, and while nourishing your child with food s/he will actually eat is your first priority, don’t forget about Mother Nature. Save the earth, and in the long run, save some money, by making or buying reusable containers for lunch time!