It is wonderful to see more and more schools educating our children on the principles of sustainability and living lightly on this Earth, with a growing number reflecting these core principles in the guidelines they provide to parents on packed lunches. Maybe your kids' school operates a zero waste policy, or has started to participate in an initiative to reduce lunchbox waste like "waste free Wednesday."
A low waste packed lunch is one that does not create additional waste - ideally at the end of the lunchbreak the lunchbox is empty and the child (or you) does not need to go to the rubbish bin at all.
Agreena wraps are a great low waste solution for wrapping sandwiches
Here are our top tips for low waste lunchboxes:
- Buy foods in bulk as far as possible to reduce packaging waste, and then make up daily portions in small containers or reusable snack bags.
- Bake snacks at home in batches and then freeze after cutting into portions.
- Reheat leftovers and place in an insulated food flask for a hot lunch option.
- Stainless steel lunchboxes are a great sustainable solution for school lunches - they last well and can be returned to the Earth at the end of their useful life. A range of designs are available to suit different needs, with separate compartments for lunch and snacks.
- Reusable snack bags can replace single use plastic ziplock bags for dry goods like crackers, nuts or cookies.
- Mini metal containers with silicone lids can be used to pack dips, yoghurts or sauces so they are easy to grab and go.
- There are several different ways to pack a sandwich or wrap without resorting to single use plastic bags or cling wrap. Silicone food pouches have a variety of uses including sandwich storage. Beeswax wraps and Onya Lunch Wraps are a popular zero waste alternative, or try Agreena wraps which have a multitude of uses and can even be recycled at the end of their useful life.
Unless you pack only finger foods, you will need to provide reusable utensils. These bamboo cutlery sets come with their own neat carry case to keep them safe.
Label everything clearly to ensure that it comes home safely at the end of the school day!
Have you other tips to add for a low waste lunchbox?
We would love to hear about your experiences and additional tips.