Plastic wrapping, chip packets, snack bags and pre-packaged yoghurt are just some of the things that contribute to the large amounts of plastic littering our streets and oceans. If our children’s lunchbox contain just 3 pieces of rubbish every day, it amounts to approximately 30KG of waste per child each year!
The Waste-Free Lunch Challenge was developed by Planet Ark Environmental Foundation as a resource for the Schools Recycle Right Challenge, an initiative of National Recycling Week.
If we think about what we purchase that comes in packaging, it is typically processed foods. So, not only is the challenge about reducing plastic, but also creating a whole foods based lunch for our children’s growing bodies and brains.
This is an effort to reduce our wastage, impact on the environment, and encourage the next generation to be conscious of plastic.
Here are our best tips to create a waste-free lunchbox:
- Invest in a sturdy, reusable lunchbox with compartments to separate food. Also known as a ‘bento box’. Some come with stackable levels, to separate dry and wet food.
- Consider nature’s own packaging – the skins on fruit and vegetables. Bananas, for example, have their own compostable packaging, so don’t need anything extra.
- Beeswax wraps are your new best friend and can replace plastic wrapping or foil – simply wash and re-use! They are available in a range of sizes for different needs.
- Swap out plastic cutlery for more durable options, such as bamboo or your cutlery from home.
- Collect all shapes and sizes of reusable containers, or jars. Small sizes are perfect for dips or yoghurt. Medium sizes for veg sticks or cheese slices. Larger sizes for fruit salads, and other bulky foods.
- Purchase from our bulk foods section – an easy way to reduce wastage is to cut out the plastic packaging altogether – our provided bags are 100% recyclable and compostable, or you can BYO jars. Snacks like dehydrated veggie chips or sultanas are a lunchbox favourite.
This is going to take some practice and preparation, so consider starting with a Waste-Free Wednesday. Get the kids to help prep their lunches – getting them involved is part of the movement! Once the wheels are rolling, you can work towards every day being waste-free!