Sunday, June 29, 2008

Waste-Free Lunches

Now that I'm eating clean and going green, I've become more conscientious of what is going into my "lunch box" each day. Not only am I more concerned about the nutritional content of my food, but of the amount of packaging as well (it's all because of the domino effect).

Just six months ago a packed lunch and snacks for me would be something like this,
  • Lean Cuisine or leftovers in a plastic #7 container
  • plastic baggy of baby carrots
  • plastic baggy of grapes
  • flavored yogurt in single cup packaging
  • granola bar
  • plastic fork (for the times I forgot to bring a stainless steel one)
  • paper napkin
I can't believe I mindlessly produced this much waste! Not to mention the processed food packed with ingredients I can't recognize or pronounce... My lunch box, or rather my cooler (carrying 3-4 meals is more than just lunch) has completely transformed over the last few months. I now bring meals/leftovers to be heated in glass containers vs. plastic #7 polycarbonate containers that contain BPA. I pack veggies, fruit, and homemade trail mix in #5 plastic (BPA-free) containers vs. disposable plastic baggies. I also keep a set of flatware in my desk at work, and take a cloth napkin (kitchen washcloths work great too) that can be used a few times before bringing back home to be washed. My husband is doing all this too.

We also make a point not to buy single serving packaged foods. We buy in bulk and then pack them for our coolers in reusable containers to reduce the amount of packaging and waste. These simple changes in the way we pack our "lunch boxes" are easy to make, and have great benefits. We are greatly reducing our consumer waste, and by not eating pre-packaged processed foods we are eating healthier, more nutritious meals! It may not seem like waste-free lunches would make such an impact, until you look at the big picture... The next time you pack your lunch, or lunch for your kids, think about how many people bring lunch to your work, and how many kids bring lunch to school every day... Chew on this from,
"It has been estimated that on average a school-age child using a disposable lunch generates 67 pounds of waste per school year. That equates to 18,760 pounds of lunch waste for just one average-size elementary school."
Packing a waste-free lunch is also more economical. The cost of all those disposable items add up! For more information and number crunching check out Also, Laptop Lunches has great ideas for reusable lunch box containers. 

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