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  • Jen Johnson

SIX BACK TO SCHOOL IDEAS FOR PACKING A PLASTIC FREE LUNCH FOR YOUR KIDS


Back-to-school is here for many Americans and right around the corner for the rest. School lunches contribute to 80% of the plastic that is not recycled each year. If you are looking for ways to help reduce your plastic waste while making your kids fun and nutritious lunches for the new school year, here are a few ideas to help you get started.

BUY A QUALITY LUNCH BOX

It’s time to stop buying brown paper bags. The first step to a plastic-free lunch is to look for and purchase a quality, long-lasting lunch box. It might cost more upfront, but in the long run it will last longer, and be less likely to end up in a landfill down the road. Eco-friendly lunch boxes such as Planet Box are becoming more common and affordable and still offer fun designs your children will love.

SKIP SINGLE-USE PLASTIC FOOD AND DRINKS

In a market that favors convenience, there are a lot of single-packaged food and drinks that can make it easy for you or your kids to pack lunches for school. While going plastic-free might require more time and effort, it will ultimately contribute to a cleaner future for your children. Try buying foods in bulk and separating them out into smaller containers at the beginning of the week. Invite your kids to participate as an opportunity for a family activity and teach your kids the importance of reducing global plastic waste.

SWAP PLASTIC SANDWICH AND SNACK BAGS WITH REUSABLE ONES

There are so many alternatives available for plastic resealable bags. From resealable silicone pouches and velcro food-safe fabric containers to beeswax wraps, there is a variety of options to fit your preferences. So grab your carrot sticks and potato chips and head to school knowing you’re helping keep plastic out of landfills!

REUSABLE UTENSILS AND NAPKINS

Napkins are a must for school lunch—and every now and again you might need to send some utensils to school with your kid. Cloth napkins are affordable and easy to throw in the wash with other laundry items. You could even head to the fabric store and let your child choose a pattern they like and cut up squares with them to use as napkins for the year! These activities can help your child gain ownership over their items so that they’ll be more likely to take care of them. If you’re not fond of the idea of sending your nice utensils from home, purchase some bamboo or camping utensils to pack in the lunchbox.

REMIND YOUR KIDS TO BRING EVERYTHING BACK

The hardest part might be reminding your kids to bring all of their eco-friendly items back home after the school day. Encourage them to keep everything in their lunch box and not throw anything away. The less plastic you use in their lunch, the less there will be to throw away—and the less likely that they’ll throw the reusable items in the garbage!

Teaching kids the importance of reducing plastic waste and helping them to take ownership over their choices will help them form habits now that will benefit them and our planet. The bonus…you’ll start reducing waste now, which could impact the future world environment that your children will live in as adults. There is hope for the future of plastic waste and it can start with your family.

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