Sunday, August 21, 2011

How Can a Lunch Box Hug?

I recently read an article in the newspaper about “Waste-Free Lunches.” My immediate reaction was first, “Hey! I’ve been doing this for years!” But then I realized I am not in the majority. You’d be amazed at how many people, even in our green trailblazing state of California, are still not even recycling. This conversation is always worth renewing, and renewing and renewing, until it becomes second-nature to every living human being.

As a working mother, I pack my own lunch a few days a week. For years, it hasn’t crossed my mind to use anything other than plastic containers. I don’t even have to think about it anymore. I actually feel guilty for those times I do pull plastic baggies out of my drawer!

I’ve been packing my son’s lunch in the same insulated lunch box for 4 years (his dad did just buy him a new one. You know how rough kids are on things ;) Inside the box, are 2 to 3 plastic containers that hold a sandwich, a fruit and crackers, or some variation thereof. His water goes in a metal water canteen that he can re-fill anytime throughout his school day. One thing you need to consider as a parent: Young children cannot open most plastic containers. If they can, it hurts their fingers or whatever’s inside goes flying as the lid pops off. The best solution I have found for this is Snapware® BPA-free airtight plastic containers. Little fingers can easily unsnap each of the 4 flaps that secure the lids to each container.

My son attends an Environmental Science Magnet elementary school. They are continually moving forward in their waste-free endeavors. At their annual walk-a-thon fundraiser this past school year, they traded in their water bottle donation requests for water-station volunteers to assist kids in re-filling their reusable water canteens. We saw almost zero plastic water bottles that day. That is something to be proud of.

Waste-free lunches are a perfect starting point to teaching our children to be eco-friendly. Now, I don’t ever have to ask my son to save anything from his lunch box. He just knows to. I still wash and re-use the zip-lock baggies from time to time. I know what they say about the risks of it, but busy moms have to resort to them on occasion for various reasons such as time, rushing, clean dishes, etc.!! When that’s the case, I used to ask my son to be sure to bring them home. He used to ask “Why?” He doesn’t ask anymore. He doesn’t have to be told anymore. He just knows now to do it. He usually brings everything home to be sure it can’t be saved or re-cycled. I love it.

Share with us your story!

The newspaper I first read the waste-free lunches article in listed some resources for waste-free containers. I’d like to direct you to them as well. Here are a few local companies who are producing all kinds of eco-friendly lunch containers:

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