What is a waste-free lunch?

Anna Smith

If you think about all the lunch boxes and how many schools there are in Australia, that's a lot of rubbish!

Committing to a waste free lunch not only reduces the amount of rubbish sent to the landfill but also educates our kids about the importance of recycling and looking at ways in which we can create a better future.

Having a waste-free lunch box doesn't simply mean removing the packaging and then putting it into a reusable container to take to school. It's buying in bulk so that we can also completely minimise the waste we bring home from the shops too. Compared to a lunch box that is full of individually wrapped pre-packaged food buying in bulk cuts down on waste massively.

We can also use this as an education tool for our kids...Why do we bother to minimise packaging and wash our reusable containers? Why do we want to eradicate plastic from our lunch box? It takes longer to prepare lunch and it is certainly more effort but the choices we make have an impact on our environment . If we talk about the environmental impact of waste, and make reducing waste an important part of their day, it will help our children think about sustainability and encourage them to make their own independent choices as they grow and mature.

To make a waste-free lunch easier to prepare, invest in some good quality products that will last a lifetime or biodegrade such as:

  • Insulated food jars
  • Bamboo containers
  • Reusable beeswax food wraps to seal in snacks and sandwiches
  • Stainless steel bento boxes
  • Reusable stainless steel water bottles 
Even though buying in bulk might seem harder than buying individually wrapped snack foods, you are actually saving money AND providing your child with a more wholesome, healthier lunch. So rather than buying things such as yogurt pouches, cheese strings, mini cracker packs and fruit sticks are some ideas you can use instead:
  • Dried fruit 
  • Corn Chips 
  • Seeds
  • Boxes of crackers
  • 1kg pot of Yoghurt
  • Large block of cheese from deli
  • Salami sausage from deli
  • Cucumber/Pepper/Avocado
  • Apples/strawberries

It's not rocket science at all but the important thing is to get your child involved and ask them to choose their snacks that they can prepare and cut up the night before. I know my kids love getting involved in food preparation and when they do, I always see that they are more likely to eat! It's a win/win situation!
If you are thinking of giving your child (or yourself) a waste-free lunch box, there are so many great ideas on the web. Good luck and remember, even though it seems more effort, it's definitely worth it! 
Anna xxx

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