A green back to school lunch is all about eliminating plastics. To accomplish this, we need to be aware of how to reduce plastic use in our school lunches!
As part of our back-to-school goals, we are planning to eliminate plastic waste and buy products that are sustainable. Sustainable products will save us money and will last for many years to come. However, with all the plastic products on the market it is hard to know where to start.
How to Reduce Plastic Use in School Lunches
As with most things, I tend to start simple. Creating a green back to school lunch is all about eliminating plastic. From food packaging to containers, it’s important to be aware of how much plastic we are actually using.
Reducing plastic waste is especially hard when you have little kids. Everything seems to come packaged in little plastic snack bags! Gummy snacks, fruit cups, granola bars… it’s all covered in plastic.
Furthermore, plastic utensils, plastic straws, and plastic lunch boxes always seem to break halfway through the year. They are flimsy and always end up in the trash.
Wondering how to reduce plastic use in your school lunch routine? This year I identified five ways to do just that. They are easy to follow and will end up saving you money too! What’s not to love?
1. Eliminate Plastic Packaging
Getting rid of plastic packaging is likely the hardest thing to do, but it is the most important thing when thinking of how to reduce plastic use and create a sustainable, eco-friendly school lunch. Instead of buying pre-packaged snacks, take the time to make your own. Some healthy back to school snacks you can use instead of packaged items are: Simple and Healthy Homemade Granola/Energy Bars, Beef Jerky or Vegetarian Jerky, Homemade Gummy Bears: A Healthy Snack Idea, or these Fermented Vegetables.
If homemade snacks are too time consuming, you can always check out your local bulk foods store for some zero-waste products.
2. Use Beeswax Wrap or Reusable Bags
Of course, some lunch items will still need packaging. A natural alternative to plastic wrap or snack bags is beeswax wrap. It is waterproof and clings well to glass containers. You can wrap sandwiches in it, make little bags with it, or even use it to cover containers. Reusable beeswax wrap can be bought here, or you can make your own with this easy tutorial. Another alternative to plastic zip-top bags is silicone storage bags, which can be thrown in the dishwasher for convenient cleaning.
3. Choose Glass
Another tip for how to reduce plastic use in school lunches is use a glass water bottle like this one. Since my kids are little, I find glass bottles that have silicone sleeves. It gives a little extra cushion and some peace of mind. Plus glass bottles are dishwasher safe making clean up easy!
4. Go Stainless
Another way to eliminate plastic from lunches is to choose a stainless steel lunch box. It’s better for your health and better for the environment. Many stainless steel lunch boxes have their own compartments or come with smaller containers that fit together inside. Stainless steel lunch boxes are more durable than plastic lunch boxes. They also last a long time making them worth the initial cost.
Additionally, if glass water bottles are too heavy for little kids, stainless steel water bottles are lighter and very durable.
5. Ditch the Plastic Utensils
When learning how to reduce plastic use, the ultimate must for a sustainable school lunch is to ditch the plastic utensils! Alternatives like silicone straws, stainless steel straws, bamboo utensils, and stainless steel cutlery are all affordable and make a huge difference. This stainless steel bento lunch box even comes with cutlery included.
These five easy ways to eliminate plastic from your back to school routine are simple to follow. Your kids can also get excited to help the environment with their sustainable back to school lunch. Have them help you pick out items or make healthy snacks to bring to school. Getting the whole family involved makes this a change that will stick this school year!
What ways are you replacing plastic in school lunches this year? Please share your ideas!