August 28, 2010

Waste Free Lunches

. August 28, 2010

There are lots of enterprising companies that offer products so parents can pack a waste-free lunch for their children. Not to be a party pooper, but I see no real need for these special products. My son eats a peanut butter sandwich, some canned fruit, and some chocolate chip cookies. We just use some plain jane food storage containers and put his milk in a thermos. We include a napkin that is made from recycled paper. My son has been great remembering to not throw out his containers.

I wish more parents would use reusable containers instead of using Ziplock bags. BTW - Ziplock bags can be recycled. They are accepted (sans zipper) at facilities that accept plastic grocery bags. I can’t think of anything that a kid would normally have in his/her lunch that couldn’t go in a reusable container. Using reusable containers not only allows you to eliminate the need for disposable bags, it saves money. For example, instead of buying individual servings of applesauce, you can buy a big jar of applesauce and pour it into a reusable container. One of my goals is to start a “Waste-free Wednesday” program at our school. The lunch staff would reward students who brought a waste-free lunch by taking their picture for publication on the club’s blog.

Some schools have a Boomerang Lunch Program.  They encourage students who bring their lunch to bring all of their uneaten food and their waste home with them for disposal.  This has numerous benefits.  Parents can see what their children are or aren't eating and can adjust the lunches appropriately.  Parents will also see how much waste every lunch generates and will hopefully take the initiative to use reusable containers instead of disposable packaging.  If enough student bring a waste-free lunch, the waste volume generated in the cafeteria can be reduced dramatically.  This reduction can potentially result in the school being able to reduce the dumpster size and/or its pickup frequency.  Did you know that it costs about $15 a day for trash pickup at Woolridge?  More waste-free lunches in tandem with a vigorous recycling program can allow the school to save several hundred dollars in waste hauling fees.  So do your part and pack a waste-free lunch for your child today!




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