Packing healthy, nutritious lunches for kids has always been a no-brainer. Rarely, however, do we consider packing eco-friendly lunches as well. Sure, a sandwich with some carrot sticks will fill their stomachs the wholesome way. And they can finish their meals with some juice or water.

But, how about the countless ziploc bags, plastic water bottles, and paper napkins that will have gone to waste? With the school year approaching, children and kids are getting ready to go back to being students. That means parents will also be returning to their duties as afterschool picker-uppers, homework helpers, and most importantly, lunch packers. Parents are always looking for better, creative ways to pack lunch, why not include the challenge of making it eco-friendly too?

Ziploc bags and plastic water bottles are convenient, both for a parent and a child. With just a focus on finishing what’s inside, kids may give little regard as to what they discard. As for parents, single-use anything means the satisfaction of knowing that that lunch idea on Pinterest was a success. And less dishwashing work. But packing eco-friendly lunches is easier than it seems, even though it may seem like a commitment.

Let’s start with the basics

Ditch the paper bag. Paper bags are no more earth-friendly than plastic. Rather, make the

switch to lunch tote bags that’ll last more than one lunch. These days almost all reusable lunchtotes come with insulation that’ll keep your child’s food cool and fresh. Plus, these totes are customizable, selling in various colors and patterns that kids might enjoy in comparison to the uniform brown that paper bags often are.

Start using cloth napkins. With the prevalence of compost, using paper napkins might not seem

very harmful. But considering how quickly that pile of tissues and paper towels and napkins can

grow, it is relatively eco-friendly to use just one cloth napkin. It also teaches us how to use every

inch of a napkin, as opposed to one per dab or wipe.

Swap out plastic, single-use cutlery for “classier” metallic forks. In fact, wrap those very utensils

in cloth napkins, both for safety and cleanliness. Two in one, done. Furthermore, cutlery comes

in various materials, such as wood or bamboo, that are also considered sustainable and

eco-friendly. You don’t have to invest in metallic forks and knives, though those are typically

found around the kitchen.

If You’re Ready

With the trend of eco-friendly lifestyle changes, beeswax wrap has become an important staple.

Beeswax wrap is made of exactly that: beeswax, some cotton, natural oils, and tree resin as well.

Because of its natural ingredients, beeswax wrap is non-toxic, biodegradable, and certainly

sustainable. Beyond the many eco-friendly features, the wrap has many functions too. It can be

used to cover lids, wrap sandwiches, and even store leftovers. Better yet, beeswax wrap can last

up to years if used and washed properly. This sounds much more appealing than the one-time

plastic bag.

Another alternative to beeswax wrap is reusable plastic containers. They come in various shapes and sizes, fitting the needs of any snack to be packed. In fact, there are stores dedicated solely for selling these neat and eco-friendly things. Additionally, parents and their children alike can be further equipped with water bottles that are not single-use, plastic, or disposable. Instead, investing in a bottle made of stainless steel will prove to have many more pluses. Stainless steel water bottles, Hydroflasks and Swell’s being the most popular, are well-insulated and long-lasting. These bottles can accompany children and teens, not only to lunch time, but to after school practices and outings.

A Final Note

Packing eco-friendly lunches is the beginning of the transformation of adopting an eco-friendly lifestyle. Because while switching to lunch totes and reusable bottles is a very important start, it does not end there. There is almost always something more parents and youth can do. For instance, why not be more cautious about the overuse of packaging in grocery stores? The same environmental awareness can be applied and consequently, more and more people will remember to bring along their tote and canvas bags with them when shopping. Plus, bags cost ten cents each! This change will become compelling and hopefully continue to touch all parts of our lives, pushing us to move in a sustainable direction.

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