In honor of my son’s first week back to school I have dedicated the entire week to Waste-Free Lunches! This week will feature great tips for sending your child off to school while treading lightly on the Earth. When parents go school shopping they are really good about getting their child a brand new lunch box but what goes inside the box? Single use baggies, aluminum foil, waxed paper, pre-packaged & individual serving snacks and meals, disposable forks & spoons, paper napkins, juice pouches…you get the picture! It is estimated that the average elementary school age child produces 67 lbs of waste per year from disposable lunches alone! These disposable items aren’t cheap on the pocket book either!
Here are some tips to help reduce your grocery bill and your footprint!
1. Purchase a durable, reusable lunch box. The days of paper bags are long gone, your child wants a cool and hip reusable lunch box or bag! Check out one of my sons new lunch bags, the Meadow Munchler by Built NY. The Munchleris one of many lunch bags and totes that Built NY produces. This insulated, soft-sided, polyproplyene bag has been tested and contains no lead and is safe for food. It is available in 4 whimsical animals and was inspired by children book illustrator, Stephen Savage, to represent zoo animals. After all, our kids belong in a zoo don’t they? One cool thing about this bag is that when it unzips fully the entire bag lies flat and acts as a place mat for your child. I bet your kid would be the talk of the lunchroom with one of these cool bags!
2. Purchase reusable sandwich and snack containers. Depending on your lifestyle you may opt for the cheap plastic containers or the safer BPA-free options like the stainless steel lunch containers.
3. Bring back the cloth napkin! Chances are the kids just wipe their hands on their pants anyways so don’t use paper, use cloth! Maybe they will at least use it as a place mat! Come back later in the week as I giveaway some cool cloth napkins from Litter Free Lunch and Fabkins!
4. Buy products in bulk or large containers and repackage them into individual servings (using your new reusable containers)! This will save you LOTS of money too! An ordinary bag of cookies now becomes 10 or more days of kids snacks and costs a fraction of the cost of pre-packaged cookies. And no more baggies means more savings there too!
5. Invest in a good water bottle for the kids. All the major brands are making them small and fashionable just for the kids! Again, you can fill the bottle with the beverage of choice without the expense of those pesky juice pouches. My little one takes his bottles with him everywhere these days.
By spending just a little money up front on these reusable items you won’t have any expenses (except the food) afterwards. The average savings from packaging alone is about $250 a year for each child. I can think of lots of things to do with $250 besides buying baggies! Just be sure that your child remembers to bring everything home with them. I was actually quite impressed with my son last year, as a Kindergartner he never once forgot to bring his stuff home with him. We never lost a container or a fork!
Not only will you be saving money at the store but if you are like me your kids will start eating a little healthier along the way. I always find myself adding fruit to his lunch since it doesn’t need any packaging. Instead of cookies we’re now eating bananas. What are some tricks you use to make your kids lunches a little more healthier and greener?
It wouldn’t be Waste-Free Lunch Week without some coupons, promotions and giveaways! Check back tomorrow and learn about a great waste-free offer from Kids Konserve and win your own Litter Free Lunch cloth napkins. There will be more surprises each day so visit often.