Today’s Cafeteria Special: a Green and Trash-Free Lunch | Seventh Generation
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Today’s Cafeteria Special: a Green and Trash-Free Lunch

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Author: the Inkslinger

Please meet Laurel Peltier, the newest addition to our roster of guest bloggers. Laurel tells us she is a 42 year-old mom of three living in Baltimore, Maryland who writes freelance articles about the environment. She says she used to be a consumer product manager, MBA-types often disparaged by greenies, she notes, but she’s now applying her marketing skills for Mother Earth.

To me, it seems families, especially Mom are hard to reach, we're very busy juggling many things, so I try and write about ideas that relate. Here’s a short brief I wrote for Maryland Family magazine about greening our kids’ lunches.

Looking for ways to become eco-friendly? An easy place to make a difference is with your child’s lunch.

Though juice boxes and individually wrapped ‘grab and go’ foods are convenient, they generate tons of trash. Each year the average child dumps sixty-seven pounds of lunchbox trash costing school districts valuable dollars to collect and dispose of the trash.

Re-thinking how your child’s meal gets packed can reduce trash going to landfills and has some unexpected benefits. Here are some simple ways to pack a trash-free lunch:

  • Send food in re-usable lunchboxes instead of paper bags. (Also, remember if using a soft lunchbox that contains “PVC”, consider testing the bag for lead (read this month’s article).
  • Instead of plastic wrap, foil or baggies, pack food in re-usable plastic containers.
  • Consider buying foods in bulk or in larger boxes and packing a portion in re-usable plastic containers.
  • Send drinks in a shatterproof thermos, a re-usable drink container (some are available with ice cores built into the bottle) or send in bottled water and recycle the bottle when it returns home.
  • Try cloth napkins, or re-usable silverware that can be washed at home.

In addition to feeling good about reducing trash, a few added benefits are:

  • Parents save money. Individually wrapped goodies and drinks are premium-priced, often up to fifty-percent higher.
  • Parents see leftovers. “Hmm, the healthy sandwich has one bite taken, and every cookie disappeared.” And, many kids snack on leftovers after school.
  • Healthier food choices. Your food and drink options are limitless when you pack in re-usable containers and don’t rely on pre-packaged items, which tend to be processed foods.

To learn more about trash-free lunches for your family, or even your school, visit Waste Free Lunches