Thursday, November 20, 2008

GREENING the Lunch Zone

Several weeks ago I noticed a Twitter snippet that All Adither had written. It went something like this... For someone who likes to think of herself as GREEN, I sure use a lot of Ziploc bags. Her thought really resonated with me, because I am also trying to live a more responsible GREEN life (yet use a lot of Ziploc bags!) and want to teach BOY & GIRL to respect our environment and planet. There is nothing like packing lunches day after day to show yourself how much plastic waste you are creating for the world. That is something that I am determined to change.

I was also horrified when I read: Plastic Ocean: The great Pacific Garbage Patch.

Recently in BOY & GIRL's preschool newsletter, there was an article about GREENING THE LUNCH ZONE.

Some school lunch waste facts:

  1. It has been said that the average school-age child using a disposable lunch generates 67 pounds of waste per school year.
  2. Juice boxes - Most inorganic trash retains its weight, volume and form for at least four decades.
  3. Paper bags and napkins - It is estimated that 17 trees are cut down for every ton of non-recycled paper.
  4. Plastic bottles, forks and wraps - In the U.S. alone, we discard 2.5 million plastic bottles every hour.
  5. Styrofoam - In the U.S. we throw away 25 billion cups every year.

Here are some ways to GREEN-UP your child's lunch box:

  1. Pack food in reusable containers (avoid plastic bags, plastic wrap, aluminum foil and prepackaged foods.)
  2. Use a refillable drink bottle.
  3. Pack a cloth napkin instead of a paper one.
  4. Use reusable utensils instead of disposable ones.
  5. Use a lunchbox instead of a paper bag.
If you have some great ideas for GREENING the Lunch Zone, please share in the comments. Also, does anyone have good ideas for making children's birthday parties more GREEN? The juice boxes...the water bottles... My goal is to be packing GREEN, trash free lunches for my family by January 2009. What about you?

Here are some great web sites to get you thinking GREEN:
(Great site for ideas on where you can purchase trash free lunch supplies.)
(Tips for packing waste free lunches and a cost analysis of how much you can save by going trash free.)
(General information on going waste free.)

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  1. I like the idea of these reusable sandwich wraps. I haven't been brave enough to actually try them though.

  2. Duh.. I guess the site address would be helpful..
    sandwich wraps

  3. Birthday parties, hm? Beyond the obvious (real plates, silverware, cups, tablecloths)...

    Tie knapsacks of bandannas for goodie bags.

    Request gifts be "wrapped" in pillowcases -- these can actually go back home as goodie bags, too (though unless you are extraordinarily generous in this department, it might look kind of pathetic).

    Use ribbon in lieu of crepe paper streamers.

    A bubble machine in lieu of balloons (works better in an outdoor party).

    Gather a collection of old hats and caps and put these in a bin for kids to choose from, in lieu of party hats. Better yet, weave crowns from ivy (real, silk or plastic...but not poison, obviously [don't laugh; one of my kids has done this]).

  4. I never thought about my zip-lock usage before! I use them all the time. I suppose I should wean myself off of zip-locks and try to use little storage containers instead. Food for thought!

  5. These will be helpful in the future. If I remember. :)
    What I remember from my childhood is forgetting my lunch box at school with the plastic containers and thermos (you remember - the kind with the glass liners that shattered if you looked at them too hard, much less had them slinging around with a clumsy kid). I have no doubt that my children will do the same. The Mountain Man uses things like the plastic butter and sour cream containers to take his lunch to work (those aren't recyclable here for some reason). I could just keep using those for the kids so when they leave them somewhere it won't be as bad as when I left my mother's expensive Tupperware in the cloak room.

  6. Good reminders. I need to remember this for packing lunches to work. There's no reason I shouldn't keep a fork and knife at my desk, instead of bringing plastic. Thanks for the reminder!

  7. i love that montessori takes care of this for me: reusable lunch containers required. real plates and cloth napkins used.

  8. Here is your answer for birthday parties:

    She is a mom from my Parent Ed class last year!

    Great blog topic!

  9. Don't even get me started on paper towels.

    My question is does the water used cleaning the reusable products outweigh the 'green-ness'?

  10. Oh, this is wonderful. We use reusable containers for lunch, but I don't think it's quite zero waste. I do love me some Ziploc bags, too, while we're confessing.

  11. I have never liked the plastic baggies and used wax paper bags for year and years - can't find them anymore. I thiink I'll discuss with my grocery store manager. They work well when a bunch of containers won't fit and for little snacks.

  12. i'm close on these, except that my daughter is addicted to gogurts for her daily snack, and I pack paper napkins. But I have plenty of cloth that we use for all our meals, so I could easily switch. we do use aluminum water battles and reusable containers and utensils.

    For B-day parties set out a big jug of lemonade and some kid cups - I've got a cupboard full of them. We used real plates and forks for the cake and other food.... I always just use my daily dishes for all my parties.


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