The start of a new school year is a great time to upgrade to zero waste school lunches that are healthy for your students and the planet. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Ditch disposable, single-use packaged snacks. Yes, single-serve snack packs are convenient, but all that plastic packaging from individually-wrapped snack foods is made from non-renewable fossil fuels and can’t be recycled. They’re used for a few minutes before being tossed in the garbage or left to pollute our environment. Instead of purchasing pre-packaged snacks, buy in bulk quantities. It’s so simple to store snacks in large containers at home and then use reusable snack pouches, like ECOlunchbox, Stasher, or ChicoBag.
- Ask your kids to pack back any food they don't eat at school. Depending on the type of food, it could potentially still be eaten or repacked the following day (ex. crackers). Note patterns in the amount or types of food not eaten at school and brought back home to inform purchasing, portioning and packing decisions. "A recent World Wildlife report estimates that U.S. school food waste totals 530,000 tons per year and costs as much as $9.7 million a day to manage. Food waste is a staggering problem, particularly in the U.S., and a chief contributor to greenhouse gas emissions."
- DIY granola bars & snacks - if you have time, making your own granola bars or other snacks could be an easy way to reduce unecessary packaging (and artificial ingredients and preservatives!). Check out this recipe for Soft & Chewy Granola Bars - and yes, you can freeze them for later!