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What better time than the start of a new school year to start a new lunch routine that’s healthier for you and your kids – and the planet! According to the stats, on average a school-age child throws away 67 pounds of lunch packaging waste a year. That means that if your child has 25 kids in his/her class, they are producing 1,625 lbs. of waste each year – and that’s just during lunch in one classroom! Imagine what a whole school produces.
If the environmental costs don't sway you, the economics might. Waste-free lunches are 35 percent cheaper than their disposable counterparts; that number is based on an average price of $2.65 and $4.02 respectively Over the course of a school year, litterless lunches net hundreds of dollars worth of savings.
And if you still need some persuading, consider this: According to the CDC, avoiding pre-packaged, processed foods reduces your child’s risk of obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease and kidney disease. The majority of sodium found in the typical diet comes from processed food products, accounting for about 40 percent of American’s total sodium intake.
So as September approaches, explore healthier food choices with your kids and a get them involved in shopping for and packing more nutritious, litter-free lunches.
Author, radio host and authority on greening your life, Gill Deacon offers these tips for swapping out common, disposable products, with eco-friendly, healthy and affordable options:
- Reusable lunch carrier –SnackTAXI and Kids Konserve offer great options in place of the plastic bag in which many children and adults wrap their lunches.
- Reusable containers – Stainless steel, glass, or an alternative wrap like the Wrap-N-Mat in place of plastic wrap or foil.
- Stainless steel or glass drink bottle– Stainless steel, glass or an alternative like the bobble instead of single-use cans or juice boxes
- Healthy snacks – Some of our favorite swaps are a water bottle instead of a juice box, a homemade sandwich instead of pre-packaged processed meat and cheese packs, and fresh cut fruit for fruit snacks.
Now that you have healthy, litter-free lunches all wrapped up for your kids, it’s time to follow the same simple steps to see to it that your own lunch hour doesn’t end with a trip to the garbage bin.
Have you already begun packing litter-free lunches? What do your kids like the best?