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Tips for Packing an Eco-Friendly Lunch

Many of you are already back in school mode, but we still have one more week of summer break left! We’re making the most of the end of summer sun, but I can tell you that this mom is ready to get back to our routine!

Consistent with my past few posts, let’s talk about eco-friendly choices for back to school. 

School lunch!

In a typical lunch you will probably find food packaged in plastic bags or pre-packaged snacks that aren’t reusable or recyclable. Yes, they’re definitely easier to grab and pack, but a typical lunch often includes at least a few of these non-recyclable trash items. If every kid brought two pieces of trash every day, five days a week, for the entire school year… imagine how much trash that is!  

Trash Free Lunch

My daughters have been using reusable “bento style” lunch boxes for the past few years. We started with a bento box found on Amazon and honestly the quality wasn’t great and they ended up breaking. 

Last year we upgraded to the PlanetBox and after a year of daily use, they are still in perfect condition! (Yes, my middle schooler still uses the Rover PlanetBox and it holds all she needs!)

We also have a stainless steel insulated container for when they want to bring hot items or leftovers.  

Initially, it can be more expensive to invest in a bento box, but it saves money in the long run. Single packaged snacks are more expensive and buying plastic baggies can add up. Plus, we all need to do our part to reduce the amount of waste we are producing.

If a bento box doesn’t work, try using reusable silicone bags like the stasher bags. Silicone is made from sand and carbon and is a great alternative to plastic because it’s not made with unsafe chemicals (BPA or BPS) that are often used to create plastic. Plus it is more sustainable and flexible. 

What about drinks?

Kids should be drinking water not juice or Gatorade. Even at home, we save “kid drinks” for special occasions. They don’t have any nutritional value and, honestly, we all should be consuming calories from healthy food sources not beverages. The girls take an Eco-Vessel stainless steel water bottle with them to school every day. By refilling a reusable water bottle we are reducing the amount of trash added to a landfill.

Thanks for reading and I hope you consider reducing your consumption of single-use items when packing a lunch!

What tips do you have to share for packing an eco-friendly lunch?

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle - Back to School Edition

Many people think that being more “green” or living an eco-friendly lifestyle is more expensive but being green can actually save you a lot of dough.

It’s true that many items produced by green and eco-friendly brands ARE more expensive than conventional products. High quality ingredients, materials, fair labor practices, using clean energy, and eco-friendly packaging do cost more and end up impacting the final price of these items. 

However, one of the major themes within the eco-friendly movement is Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. When put into practice, the three Rs can save a lot of money, making “going green” more economical than many think.

For example, school supplies…

I bet your kiddos came home on the last day of school with a full backpack. If your house is anything like mine - some might say a little disorganized - those backpacks are probably still full. Pencil boxes, folders, binders, emergency blankets- all perfectly good items that can be reused for the coming school year. Plus at our house we have school supplies of yesteryear lurking in craft supplies and junk drawers.

There’s no need to buy brand new! Why not “shop” what you have at home before hitting Target.

We’ve been doing this for the past few years. Initially my girls were bummed that they didn’t get pretty new stuff each year. But we talked about the importance of reusing items instead of throwing them in the landfill. Sharing the perspective of reuse has helped them realize they don’t need a brand new binder when last year’s works perfectly fine. We often talk about how the choices we make can either benefit or hurt our environment. Reusing school supplies is a perfect example of this.

And back to school clothes shopping…

I’ll admit it, when I was a kid I looked forward to back-to-school clothes shopping. I’ve always loved clothes!

As a mother though, it’s quite frustrating. 

Fall styles are released during the peak of summer. I’m not into buying clothes months in advance and my daughters have no interest in sweaters and jeans when it’s 80 degrees outside. 

Not to mention, who knows how much they will grow or what styles they will be wanting when the season actually hits.

Instead of back to school clothes shopping, we LOVE hand-me-downs! My daughters have always been a bit on the slow-to-grow side and they have lots of friends who are just a little bigger or older than they are. The girls love shopping through their friends’ items and passing on what they’re not fond of.

We also frequently shop thrift stores. I know this isn’t for everyone, but the fashion industry causes a significant negative impact on our environment. According to the United Nations Environment Program, the fashion industry creates 20% of global wastewater and 10% of carbon emissions, more than all international flights and maritime shipping combined! 

Thrift store shopping is so much easier too! All of the clothes are organized by size! Plus there’s a huge variety of styles and brands. It’s like shopping the entire mall under one roof. 

If thrifting isn’t your thing, consider hosting a clothing swap. Have all your friends bring their hand-me-downs and shop each others’ cast-offs. 
You can also find some great options for used clothing online. Try PoshMark,  Kidizen, or ThredUp

How else do you reduce, reuse, and recycle when preparing for the school year or a new season? What tips do you have to share?