Simply Resourceful

Simple ways to be more conscious about how we use our resources.

Eliminating School Lunch Waste

Have you ever visited a school cafeteria and been completely disgusted by the amount of food being wasted and all the one-time use packaging that is quickly discarded to the landfill? Well, if you haven't, it's an eye-opening experience revealing the wastefulness of our current society. In this post, we'll show you how our little tiger is doing his small part to help...

In keeping with our values on reducing waste, Paul has a waste-free lunch kit.  All of the containers can be used over and over again.  The lunch bag contains an insulated thermos, a stainless steel water bottle, a small plastic container, a metal spoon, a small stainless steel container, a cloth napkin, and an orange plastic food wrap that has a Velcro closure and can be used as a place mat.  I imagine some parents cringe at the very thought of sending containers and silverware to school with the worry that they will end up in the garbage.  Accidents do happen, and thankfully Paul has brought home everything, but I do send him with containers and silverware that don't go with my best matching Tupperware and silverware set.  In fact, the white plastic container was previously a cream cheese container.

In case you are interested, the orange plastic food wrap and small stainless steel container came from U-Konserve.  The U-Konserve website is a great place for waste-free lunch kits.  

Food packaging and food waste in general is definitely a problem in schools.  With pre-packaged lunches, snacks, and beverages, a lot of unnecessary waste is ending up in our landfills.  Not to mention the quality of food the children are eating and the excess spending from parents.  Pre-packaged foods cost a lot more money than making things from scratch.  There are some who may argue that finding the time to make a homemade lunch is too much of a time commitment.  To save time, I prepare things ahead of time such as cutting a weeks worth of cheese at one time from a big block so I only need to grab a slice each day.  

At the Kindergarten luncheon the parents attended last week, I was shocked to see one-time-use paper tablecloths covering every table in the lunch room.  With school budgets getting squeezed, I don't understand how this wasteful spending can be justified.

When Paul empties his lunch box every night for cleaning, we compost his scraps which are typically apple cores, grape stems and banana peels. 


shannon November 16, 2014 at 1:00 PM  

We do this too Holly. I don't think we've lost any reusable bag in the last 3 years of sending lunches to school. It is just normal for my kids. They know to take things home with them. It really isn't a big deal. I wish more families would do this too!

Rosie Pink November 16, 2014 at 3:16 PM  

As a teacher and a mom, I applaud your efforts. Every little bit helps. The cafeterias used to give scraps to local farmers, until one had a pig that died and sued the school! Some of the high schools with Ag programs are trying to use the scraps for compost, but government regs on this are so prohibitive. My main issue with lunch boxes as a mom, was the lunch box that got left in the locker for several weeks. NOT a pleasant thing to deal with. But great job getting the kids to empty their own.

And with the emphasis on nutrition, it is horrible to see how many kids come to school with lollipops and a soda in their mouths and have either lunchables or are on free/lunch.

I teach in WV

About this blog

A weekly update on our adventures of trying to be more self-sufficient by using resources wisely. We explore a variety of topics that most broadly fit in the "Homesteading" category, i.e. beekeeping, organic gardening, edible landscaping/fruit forest, food preservation/canning, woodworking, soap-making, and environmental stewardship.

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