How to Make Your School Lunches More Green [Guest Post]

As many of you know, I am very pro-environment and loved this article by Greenopia. Launched on Earth Day 2006 in Los Angeles, Greenopia city guidebooks tackled the Los Angeles area with its first guide, then followed a year later with a San Francisco Bay Area edition and this spring with New York.  Plans are underway to introduce Greenopia guides in cities across the country, including Denver, Chicago, Seattle, and Portland!

The average school-age child who packs a lunch for school generates 67 pounds of waste per school year. That works out to 18,760 pounds of lunch waste for just one average-size elementary school… so what can families do to reduce that waste?  Here are a few tips for packing a greener lunchbox this fall:

  • Replace paper napkins with cloth versions
  • Pack stainless-steel utensils instead of using disposable plastics
  • Use reusable drink containers instead of disposable juice boxes, juice pouches, cans, and plastic bottles
  • Avoid using plastic wraps, plastic bags, wax-paper bags, and aluminum foil – opt for Tupperware instead
  • Cut down on packaging waste by purchasing foods in larger containers that you can recycle at home rather than buying many smaller packaged products
  • Choose lunch boxes or backpacks over paper or plastic bags


    4 thoughts on “How to Make Your School Lunches More Green [Guest Post]”

    1. Great ideas! A few of my children are forgetful — one has Asperger’s Syndrome and is completely overstimulated at lunch with the smells and all that he has to remember ( open lunch box, actually eat lunch, throw aways parts, but not all of remains) so I made a bunch of cloth napkins that I just don’t care about, and “garage saled” some alternate silverware. If he should accidentally throw away something reusable, then I don’t get bent out of shape. I know it’s not green to throw out a metal fork, but it does make me more inclined to put in metal and cloth if I am not losing parts to my regular flatware.

    2. Thanks Vanessa! I know that many of the working Moms in my office would love to hear about these great tips. I’ll pass the word along.

    3. Thanks for the tips. I’m a big fan of the laptop lunchbox system that has reusable inner containers and drink container. Never thought of napkins though, my guy is too happy using his shirt. How green is that?!

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