Back-To-School Lunch Tips and A Waste-Free School Initiative

Parents with children returning to school need to get ready to pack roughly 200 lunches for school days this year. That doesn’t include snacks for after school activities or sports.  The website Waste Free Lunches can help with it’s emphasis on packing healthy, well planned lunches, as well as helping the environment by eliminating single use plastic bags and wrapping. 

The two moms behind this website and the creators of the laptop lunchbox also wrote a book that is included with your purchase of these bento-style boxes.  It was written to help guide parents and inspire nutritious, earth-friendly lunch ideas.  There is a sampling of these ideas on the Laptop Lunches site. Sending your child back-to-school with a waste-free lunchbox is a great way to start the school year and go the extra mile by reducing waste and renewing your commitment to your child’s health.   In light of the recent issue with traditional lunch boxes testing high for lead and other toxic substances, this custom solution with bisphenol-A-free polypropylene square boxes and lids, and a phthalates-free carrying case is wonderful to ease your mind that your child is eating from a non-toxic product.

I noticed something on their web site that inspires parents with taking the waste-free concept to a higher level. Looking to make a difference in your school and help the planet – what about starting a waste-free lunch program at your school? I would never suggest a concept that is incredibly difficult to coordinate or manage, but this seems pretty easy!  This would be an incredible school initiative! 

“A waste-free lunch program is a process of educating students, parents, and school staff about where our trash ends up and how we, as individuals, can reduce the amount of trash we generate. Waste-free lunch programs favor the use of reusable food containers, drink containers, utensils, and napkins. They discourage the use of disposable packaging, such as prepackaged foods, plastic bags, juice boxes and pouches, paper napkins, and disposable utensils.”

Source: Waste Free Lunches  Read the comparison between a disposable lunch vs. a reusable waste free lunch.

A Typical American Lunch (DISPOSABLE)

• sandwiches sealed in plastic bags
• fruits and vegetables in plastic bags
• prepackaged chips, cookies, fruit bars, granola bars, cheeses, and fruit leathers
• prepackaged yogurts, applesauces, and puddings
• crackers, pretzels, chips, and other snack foods sealed in plastic bags
• disposable juice boxes, juice pouches, soda cans, water bottles, and milk cartons
• plastic forks and spoons
• paper napkins
• reusable lunchboxes and disposable paper and plastic bags

A Waste-Free Lunch (REUSABLE)

• sandwiches and other main dishes, fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, and treats in a reusable lunch container
• cloth napkins
• stainless-steel forks and spoons
• reusable drink containers
• reusable lunchboxes

With this type of lunch, lunch food items can be bought in larger quantities. The packaging can be left at home for reuse or recycling. Waste-free lunches are not only a wise environmental choice, but they are less expensive as well. 

This article is part I of II as I want to outline some of the financial savings as an additional benefit of implementing this waste-free system.  Here are some visuals to inspire creative and healthy lunch ideas.  For more, visit the laptop lunches photo gallery.  Don’t forget to enter our August contest to win a laptop lunchbox…click here to read the details.


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3 Responses to Back-To-School Lunch Tips and A Waste-Free School Initiative

  1. Tracy Green August 23, 2008 at 3:38 pm #

    Glad to see you are getting hooked on the laptop lunch craze like me Suzanne! They are seriously the best lunch systems for kids (and my husband even likes them too although he wishes it was a little bigger!). It forces you to pack a healthy lunch and really think about what you are presenting to your kids. What you spend on the system you make back by not packing processed foods and junk. The moms who started laptop lunches are super dedicated to providing safe and healthy lunch kits. My kids LOVE opening up their kits to see what I packed for them!

    You need to check out the FLICKR photo gallery if you really want to be inspired.. these are some serious lunches!

  2. Tracy Green August 23, 2008 at 3:41 pm #

    Oh and one more thing. Link to your Laptop lunch contest! I will provide the winner with a laptop lunch kit in either a primary blue or pink.

  3. suzanne August 23, 2008 at 5:13 pm #

    Thanks Tracy! Here is the link to the contest to win a laptop lunchbox generously dontaed by!

    And YES! I think this item is the must have back-to-school item this year. I think the laptop lunchbox will be what the stainless steel water bottle was to school aged children last year. Way-to-go for sourcing such an amazing product! Another great find by Green Hands!

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