Packing a zero-waste school lunch

School’s in, and we’re packing lots of school lunches again.

We try to pack healthy foods to fuel our kids during the day, but can we do so in a way that creates no waste?  Here are a few tips for packing a zero-waste school lunch.

Reusable lunch and snack boxes.  There are many cute and lead and PVC-free lunch box options available, and they’re a great and cheaper alternative than disposable paper bags.  Properly cared for, they can be used for years.  Here are a few great options compiled by Safe Mama.

Reusable containers.  Ditch the plastic bags, and instead put food in reusable containers, such as those made from stainless steel.  You’ll create less waste, save money in the long-term, and avoid plastic products which can leach toxins into food.

Avoid packaged single-serving foods.  You’ll save money and create less waste by avoiding single-serve, packaged foods.  Instead of a mini-package of carrots, buy a full bag and put some in a small reusable container instead.  Instead of a packaged granola bar, buy a bag of trail mix and put some in a reusable container.

Reusable silverware and napkins.  No need to buy plastic sporks or paper napkins!  Just put a spoon or fork from your silverware set into your kids’ lunch boxes.  And put a cloth napkin in as well.

Bring home compostables.  If your school doesn’t have a composting program but you compost at home, have your child bring home any compostable waste so you can dispose of it.