Don’t pack trash for lunch!

Well… it’s back-to-school time. Wait. (blink, blink.) I thought it was still June.

Unfortunately…no. I’ve been desperately working on getting in the school mode, but I’m just in such denial that my sweet “baby” girl is going to be gone, all day, five days a week!

We’ve had major discussions about lunchtime and what she would like me to pack. Our school is so-so on nutritious meals, but our daughter has chosen to be a “brown bagger.” However, that’s in name only because we’ve taken lots of steps to insure that she won’t be creating too much waste at lunchtime. In fact, an interesting little stat I found on Greenopia:  “An average kid using disposable lunch wrappers generates 67 pounds of waste per school year.”… YIKES!

So, to our “low-/no-waste” lunch plan.

Buy a lunchbox. There are so many cool ones to choose from, kids can certainly find one to love. Buy a reusable bottle and/or thermo. No matter what beverage you choose, it will accommodate…and there won’t be any disposable bottles/boxes to throw away later. No paper napkins. A quick stop at the dollar store and we have cloth napkins to last her a week. Buy a cheap set of silverware. No need to toss plastic in the trash daily. Or, if you use plastic, wash & reuse. NO Ziplocs or plastic baggies. Like I mentioned before, I bought a bunch of small containers for the kids’ foods and snacks, so these will accompany her to school each day!

I was concerned that within the course of weeks the containers, thermoses, etc. would get left behind at school and never find their way back to us, but I discovered a great product from Stuck On You. They are vinyl name labels that can be placed on all of these items and they are waterproof, microwave- and dishwasher-safe (so you won’t be replacing name labels with every washing!). Our daughter’s are pink with flowers and she LOVES them. They have tons of other great products too (labels, tags, and a great starter pack) if you want to check them out.

So, as I venture into a teary-eyed send-off to our daughter, I at least know that when the year ends, there won’t be 67 lbs. of trash in a local landfill with her name on it.

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15 thoughts on “Don’t pack trash for lunch!

  1. Garagravaar – Actually, cafeterias are far from better. If you think about it, most cafeterias use disposable plates, disposable cups, plastic silverware, paper napkins and every one of those items ends up in the trash can. The exception to this might be a cafeteria that uses plastic or metal trays (kinda like PRISON! 🙂 Not that I’ve ever been to prison, but think “prison MOVIE” and slapping the slop on the tray from a big ole serving spoon!) and metal silverware & cups/glasses that gets turned back in and washed for constant reuse. But I think these types of places are few and far between. I would love to know the statistic for the amount of trash cafeterias actually create in a year!

  2. NAB – yeah…isn’t that sad!… we actually have to be conscious of the reusable plastics we use too! I would love to get some Bento boxes for the kids… that will have to be the next purchase!

  3. First of all, beautiful design on your site! Love it! I love your article about buying reusable lunch gear for the kiddos. My oldest just started kindergarten and trying to be a green family, we invested in a bunch of cool reusable lunch items such as wrap-n-mat, lunchbox, thermal water bottles, freezable dip/veggie bowls, freezable ice packs and safe, tiny plastic containers for snacks. I have been trying to spread the word with my girlfriends to get on board with their kid’s lunches.. I guess it is one lunch box at a time! Anyway, thanks for talking about such an important topic! Best, Autumn

    Autumns last blog post..Important Topic Regarding Aging Family Members: Alzheimer’s Disease

  4. Autumn – hey, thanks! 🙂 Sounds like you made a lot of great finds for your “Kinder-sweetie’s” lunchbox! Very cool! And I like that: “one lunch box at a time!” I’m still hassling friends right along with you. We’ll “get them there” eventually!

  5. Hiya Doreen! Bless you heart, you baby is all grown up! I empathize with you!

    Great tips on the back to school/no waste lunches. We have been packing my 3 1/2 year old daughter’s lunch at daycare for the last year and found that the SIgg steel thermos is awesome! She has the little Paddington Bear version and she loves it.

    Also, we use Mabels Labels out of Canada and I am huge fan! Personally, I like the designs and I think they are a little cheaper too. We started using them on Fiona’s baby bottles and they went through the dishwasher thousands of times!

    Cheers to another great post. I look forward to your next blog.

    Regards, Kimberly (who is giving birth in 4 days!!!)

    Kimberlys last blog post..Wooden toys to the rescue!!

  6. Kimberly – Thanks!…It’s been truly difficult! I miss my “baby” girl all day! – 🙁
    We have a Sigg too… love it. There’s a lot of really great stuff out there… good news for us green moms!
    And the absolute BEST wishes to you with the baby-on-the-way! Keep me up to date!

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  11. My son isn’t in school yet, so we don’t have to worry about that. Funny to think of cafeterias using disposable silverware and dishes. When I was in school we had real silverware and trays. Only napkins were disposable.

    What I need is a container to hold sandwiches. I use bread from a local bakery that is large than a standard slice. Right now I use quart size freezer ziplocs and wash and reuse them, but of course I have concerns about that plastic. Any ideas on a sandwich container that is reusable, safe, and easy to clean?

  12. Happy Tiffin ( offers fantastic cool food stacking containers that are safer to use than using disposables, plastic containers because it doesn’t contain any toxic that can harm wildlife. Its much better for packed lunch ideas, its very handy, earth-friendly, reusable, and ultimately functional. So, if you’re looking for a more convenient food storage why not try this one. 😉 I love their newest product which is the insulated tiffin bag that can sustain the food’s temperature – even hot or cold.

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