11 Tips for Waste-Free Lunches

August 11, 2023 | Published by Julie Buchanan

If the kids are heading back to school, or you’re simply a grownup looking to go green, consider the ways you can reduce waste from school and work lunches.

Small changes can make a big difference for the environment — and the wallet.

1) Choose a reusable lunch box or bag. Skip paper bags.

2) Ditch plastics that are meant to be used one time and then thrown away. We’re talking about plastic utensils, straws and zip-top bags. Note these single-use items should never go in curbside or drop-off recycling containers.

3) Use a refillable bottle for all beverages. They’re not only for water. Plastic bottles and juice boxes contribute to our waste. Many schools and workplaces provide refillable water stations these days.

4) Opt for fresh, whole fruits instead of pre-packaged slices or pieces. Bananas and oranges come in their own natural packaging!

5) Say no to Styrofoam.

6) Refuse plastic and paper bags when picking up takeout.

7) Don’t overpack. Pack only what will be eaten to eliminate wasted food. We waste more one-third of our food, according to national estimates.

8) Bring salad dressing, condiments and dips in reusable containers. This will reduce waste, plus those single-serving items can be expensive.

9) Start small. Take stock of your daily lunch and consider one item you could do without or replace with a more sustainable choice.

10) Shop for reusable containers at thrift stores or online. They don’t have to be fancy.

11) Avoid single-use plastic wrap and aluminum foil. Try beeswax wraps, cloth bags or different ways to store sandwiches and snacks. Check out the reusable CVWMA snack bag!

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