Going green at lunch: litterless lunch kits are the right thing to pack.
Think of all the schools across the country and all the lunches that are eaten there over a school year. Now think of all the waste that creates. Kids are learning more about litterless lunches at school - packing items in reusable containers that don't create waste. We can all learn from that. So whether you are packing a litterless lunch kit for the kids or the office, here are some tips of what to get when you are doing your back to school shopping:
-Buy an insulated lunch bag or soft sided cooler bag. It will help keep the temperature (hot or cold) for the foods inside. You can find some lunch bag totes or soft lunch bags with 2 separate compartments, allowing you to use one side for cold and one for hot. (Make sure to wash the lunch bag out each night so bacteria doesn't build.)
-Buy a variety of reusable containers. Containers have come a long way from the old days of Tupperware parties. There are containers that offer multiple compartments, freezable lids and even salad shakers. There are also many shapes and sizes of reusable ice packs - thin, bendable, sports shapes, etc. Even with an insulated lunch box, it is a good idea to put an ice pack in - especially during warm weather months - to keep cold foods safe (especially milk and meat products).
-Small cubes or containers can be used for salad dressing, ketchup, dipping sauces, croutons, etc. - eliminating waste from disposable packets and saving you money. Get a multi-compartment container to build your own lunchables. It will be cheaper and you can choose more nutritious selections to put in.
-If there is no microwave oven at school or work, buy a thermos. You can use it for hot lunches, healthy soups, leftovers from dinner, etc. Just microwave the food in the morning, pack it in the thermos, and it will still be hot at lunchtime.
-Buy a reusable water bottle. Disposable plastic water bottles create a lot of waste, and can release toxins into your water. It is dangerous to leave disposable plastic bottles in cars, garages, or places where they can get hot, since toxins from the plastic will be released into the water. It is also dangerous to refill or freeze the disposable bottles. Sports bottles or stainless steel bottles are your best bet, and they now come in lots of fashion colors and styles to please your trend conscious kids.
-Buy a better quality of plastic cutlery that you can wash & reuse.
-Cloth napkins can be washed or reused. If you use paper towels or napkins, try to buy ones made from recycled material. (Don't forget to put them in your green/biodegradable bin when you are done.)
If your school or workplace does not recycle, see if they are willing to start. Most companies have become environmentally conscious, or know they will have to start soon. It is never too early to get your kids involved in protecting the environment.
Learn more about going green and teach your kids about conservation.