Packing a waste-free lunch is easy! By changing your routine in just a few simple ways, you'll be able to eliminate single-use waste from lunchtime forever. To help you make the switch, we collected some of our favorites to show you just how simple—not to mention practical and stylish—a zero-waste lunch can be. Read on to discover our 5 steps to a waste-free lunch.
LET US SHOW YOUR OUR FAVORITES & SHARE OUR BEST TIPS...
BUT, WHY GO WASTE-FREE?
- In an academic year, the average student—of which there were 49.8 million in 20141—disposes of 67 lbs of waste.2 That means conventional packed lunches, packaged and stowed in single-use items, create over 3.34 billion pounds of waste each year.
- A lunchtime study performed by ECOlunchbox found that packing a waste-free lunch eliminates 18 pieces of trash per family every day and 3,240 pieces of trash per family every year—and saves each family $453.60 every year, too.3
- 3,000 tons of waste from paper towels is generated in the US every day. Disposable paper products, like napkins, paper towels, tissues and office paper, are the single largest source of waste in landfills—even though paper is easily recyclable. At reuseit, we like cloth napkins much better.4
- Every hour, 2.5 million plastic bottles are thrown away in the US.3
- Globally, less than 4% of plastic generated is recycled.3
- It requires the energy equivalent of 86 million barrels of oil to produce and transport enough plastic water bottles to meet the annual demand in the US alone.5
- About 2.7 million tons of aluminum is thrown away in America every year. The largest source of this waste is from beverage and packaging containers.6
- Each year, Americans throw away 25 billion Styrofoarm cups—that’s enough to circle the Earth 436 times.7
- Because they are made of plastic-coated cardboard, most single-use juice boxes cannot be recycled due to the inseparability of the materials.7
- Dangerous chemicals, like lead, phthalates and BPA, can leach into your or your child’s food and drink from conventional plastic packaging, like from plastic baggies, drink pouches and juice boxes.8
- And, it’s not only about disposable items—waste-free lunch is about conserving food, too. In America, 30-40% of all the food produces is thrown away. Be sure to pack a sensibly sized lunch—enough to fill up and stay nutritionally balanced without loosing anything to rot or waste. And, with reusable containers, you can always hang on to leftovers, too!9
• Filter your choices by kid-friendly options—designed to be easy for small hands to use and available in bright, fun colors
• Available in insulated and thermal options size
- Available in all kinds of styles and prints—ranging in shade from transparent to translucent
- Filter available products to easily find kid-friendly options in smaller sizes with bright, fun patterns that will appeal to all ages
- Find practical bottles with built-in filtration systems to keep water tasting clean and crisp
- Explore insulated and thermal bottles to keep the liquids inside hot or cold for hours
- Collapsible, soft-sided bottles hold all the liquid you need, then compactly fold, flatten or roll up to make storage and transport incredibly easy
- Find the style that suits your needs best—from screw-on cap to flip-top straw to sealed sipping lids and other innovative options!
- Glass—the most chemically resistant to change—it won’t ever leach toxins—or residual flavors—into your drink; durable, strong, easy to clean and transparent so it’s easy to monitor what’s inside
- Metal—stainless steel and aluminum options are durable and strong, yet incredibly lightweight, non-leaching, easy to clean and are often insulated
- BPA-free plastic—all the plastics we offer are tested to uphold all safety recommendations and requirements—free of lead, phthalates, BPA and PVC; durable, versatile, virtually break-proof and often the most cost-effective choice
- Small—6-19 oz perfect for kids lunches, small lunch bags or for days on the go—when you just need a little taste
- Medium—20-39 oz ideal for every day use—at school, at work, at the gym, on the trail or simply on the go
- Large—40+ oz great for quenching big thirst or for sharing—at the office, at the beach, on the trail or while camping
- Ditch disposable sandwich and snack bags for reusable baggies or food wrap instead
- Explore our collection of Kids’ Lunch Boxes to find colorful, bright shades and patterns especially designed for taking healthy, zero-waste lunches to school
- Find thermal and insulated options, too
- Neoprene—the same material that’s used to make wet-suits, neoprene is awesome at keeping food and drinks inside insulated—plus it’s easy to clean and protects from bumps or drops
- Recycled plastic content—reclaimed from old plastic! Free of toxins like lead, PVC or BPA and keeps contents well-insulated
- All-natural materials like cotton, linen and bamboo—classic, lightweight and compact—also often feature a liner for easy cleaning and to help keep things insulated
- No two lunch bags are alike—and sizes range greatly, but the lunch bags you’ll find at reuseit all generally fall into one of three categories:
- Small—like a conventional brown paper lunch bag; will hold a sandwich (in food wrap or a reusable baggie), a small reusable bottle, a small piece of fruit or reusable snack bag, a reusable cloth napkin and a non-toxic, reusable cold pack
- Medium—will hold about as much as 1.5 conventional brown paper bags, including a large reusable sandwich bag (or wrapped sandwich), medium-sized reusable bottle, a piece (or two) or fruit, a reusable snack bag and/or a reusable food container, a small reusable utensil set, a reusable napkin and a reusable cold pack
- Large—equivalent to 2 conventional brown paper bags; will hold a large reusable sandwich bag (or wrapped sandwich), a stainless steel, glass or plastic reusable container (or bento box), a thermal food jar or snack container, medium to large reusable bottle, a reusable utensil set, a reusable napkin, a reusable cold pack, plus plenty of extra room for fruits, veggies, condiments and more
Sources: 1 -- http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=372 2 -- http://www.wastefreelunches.org/ 3 -- http://ecolunchboxes.com/lunchstudy 4 -- https://www.peopletowels.com/aboutpt/WageWarOnWaste 5 -- http://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/water/bottled/bottled-water-bad-for-people-and-the-environment/ 6 -- http://www.kab.org/site/PageServer?pagename=recycling_facts_and_stats 7 -- http://ecolunchboxes.com/facts/ 8 -- http://toxicfreekidsblog.org/2011/04/lunchbox-dangers/ 9 -- http://www.worldfooddayusa.org/food_waste_the_facts