This school year has been full of NEW and DIFFERENT experiences. Since moving to a bigger school, the kids have been able to be involved in some pretty amazing school groups and clubs. For example: coding club, cooking class, drawing club, LEGO club and a favorite of Teagan’s – GREEN TEAM!
So, what is Green Team you ask? Green Team is a group of students (all grades) and a few teachers and parent volunteers who come together to make big green changes in the school. Even though Teagan is one of the youngest on the Green Team she is very active in the projects and mission.
Celebrate Earth Day With A Zero Waste Lunch
One of the big projects that Green Team has been working on this school year is evaluating and auditing the the amount of the waste is collected everyday in the lunch room. Some of the numbers are very surprising! While a school can never say to parents that all lunches must be Zero Waste, the school is taking action by requesting that for Earth Day this year the school attempts to have a Zero Waste Lunch! We are super excited for this and hope that the more that it is talked about and experimented with that more schools will jump on the idea of having Zero Waste Lunches!
Challenge: A Zero Waste Lunch
When I first heard of the Zero Waste Lunch event I panicked!! I am so used to using a few plastic baggies (because the kids kept throwing away my Tupperware!) everyday. Plus, for those days that I just give up – lunchables it is! All of those plastic THINGS are what adds up and creates bad waste. Honestly, lunchtime probably provides more waste than any other meal time due to the high use of single-use packaging and lots of easy grab-and-go options wrapped in plastic.
Time for a challenge, which once I started thinking about it, truly is not THAT much of a challenge. We can do this parents! We can work towards more Zero Waste Lunches with little to no extra work! By the way, use this Zero Waste Lunch idea for your work lunch too, not just the kid’s school lunch!
Tips For Packing A Zero Waste Lunch
When I started this challenge I decided to look at a typical packed lunch and picked out the WASTE items that I knew I would need to tackle.
Start With The Lunch Bag
How many of us went to school with a brown bag lunch. While those bags are able to be recycled, why continue to get a new bag everyday? Instead make it a new school year treat to go to the store and pick out a lunch bag to use over and over! Hey, mom and dad, you need to do this for work too! Find a lunch bag or lunch box that the kids enjoy and that is big enough to pack all different types of lunches in.
Ditch The Plastic Bottles/Milk Cartons
Just like the lunchbox or lunch bag, find a reusable water bottle that can fit in the lunchbox. My kids are milk drinkers and while I usually pack the single use cartons we will be switching to a reusable water bottle and filling it with milk and keeping the milk chilled by adding it to their lunchbox with ice packs.
Instead of whipping out the plastic forks and spoons find some great reusable and kid friendly utensils to add to the lunchboxes. No more one use forks and spoons! Be prepared by keeping a set in the lunchbox.
No more plastic baggies and non-recyclable plastic containers! This where I struggle. Disposable food containers are one of the most bulky pieces of waste from your lunch that goes into the landfill. Skip the Styrofoam and non-recyclable plastic containers. Use reusable containers and it will not only keep food out of the landfill, but your lunch will remain nice and comfortable until lunchtime!
Instead of using disposable paper towels or napkins, keep a reusable napkin in the lunch bags. You can pack a cloth napkin or handkerchief with the lunch and wash it with your laundry every week!
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Remember that this is not just a saying, but a reminder of the order in which one should act. Reducing and reusing packaging from your lunch should come before recycling whenever possible, because recycled goods still require energy and materials to be produced and later recycled.
I am excited to see how the Zero Waste Lunch event goes on Earth Day at Jude and Teagan’s school this year. I hope it goes well and the kids get involved. This is such a learning experience for both the parents and the kids. We have work to do and this is a great place to start when celebrating our beautiful planet Earth!
How are you celebrating Earth Day and making it a day of teachable moments for your kids?
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