Lunching Without Junking

October 23, 2009 at 12:02 1 comment

plastic garbage from green grrlThe EPA has a bunch of free resources for getting a waste-free lunch started in your school, including a poster with activities and letter to send home to parents.

This is an important waste issue in schools because lunches are a major part of the trash collected. It is estimated that one child’s average lunch generates 67lbs of garbage in a year! That can add up to over 18,000 lbs in an average elementary school.

You should also check out wastefreelunches.org who have a price comparison between these types of lunches at the bottom of their homepage.

And this photo is from another garbage challenge – collect, and then photograph, all your plastic garbage for a week. I bet that could be surprising!

The main problem I would see is getting kids to always bring home their silverware and napkins! Any thoughts on that? Would it be sufficient for them to be able to keep their lunch bag in their bookbag?

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Some of the EPA’s suggestions for how to ensure you have a waste-free lunch:
Do include:

  • Sandwiches in reusable containers
  • Whole fruits without packaging
  • Drinks in containers that can be reused, such as a thermos, or recycled, such as a can
  • Snacks purchased in bulk and brought in reusable containers

Don’t include:

  • Individually wrapped snacks
  • Plastic baggies that are not reusable
  • Disposable forks and spoons
  • Straws
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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Stephanie  |  February 3, 2010 at 15:11

    My schools growing up had reusable silverware that we returned with our lunch trays at the end of lunch period. They washed and reused them. Now, unfortunately they were hard plastic and who knows how many of them got tossed by irresponsible or lazy kids/teenagers, but they were definitely better than disposables.

    I actually wonder how much trash is generated from school meals prepared at school. Since they are made in bulk, there may actually be less plastic used than bringing a lunch containing individually wrapped items. With the exception of milk cartons and a few frozen deserts, almost nothing they served came to us individually packaged, so the question would be how much packaging they used in preparation. I’m sure it varies considerably by school district.

    Reply

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Bright Green Classroom helps teachers, and others, quickly find interesting, usable lesson ideas and materials to learn more about climate change and sustainability.

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