On average a school-age child using a disposable lunch generates 67 pounds of waste per school year. From a food perspective food wasted not only wastes families’ money, but wasted food generates 8 percent of human-generated greenhouse gas emissions. So wasted food is not only bad for your finances, but it is also bad for the environment.
According to Green-Child Magazine, families can save $2.32 per child per day or $417.60 per child per school year, from packing a reusable, waste-free lunch, instead of a disposable lunch. So, if you have 2 school-age children, that’s over $800 a year in savings! 3 children, over $1,200. That’s good money that could go toward more important things than the garbage!
The best news of all of this is that you can start reducing waste immediately with just a few swaps. Watch my segment on Charlotte Today to get a quick few tips. For more info and to get some of my favorite recommendations, read below the video!:
- Lunch Bags and Boxes: Ditch the brown paper bag or plastic bag and swap for Reusable lunchboxes and bags. A couple of favorites: Bentgo Lunch Containers, Packit Lunch Containers and Omie Lunch Boxes.
- Food Containers: An estimated 20 million sandwich bags go into the trash a day. Not only is this wasteful, but it is horrible for the planet and our oceans. Further, you’re wasting money on disposable bags instead of those you can reuse. Swap sandwich bags and snack baggies for Stainless steel containers or Reusable sandwich bags. We use Kids Conserve, but there are many others on the market.
- Pre-Packaged Single Serves: There is no doubt that single serve snacks, Lunchables, and other items that are pre-packaged for single servings is more convenient. But, you’re not only creating more waste, you are spending more money for that convenience. Swap branded single serves and purchase food in bulk or normal packaging (E.g., swap Lunchables for good deli meats and cheeses and crackers; swap single-serve chip bags and purchase a big bag of potato chips); and purchase Reusable Snack Pouches and containers, and portion out servings into those pouches to save money and waste.
- Desserts and Treat: Swap store bought treats with Homemade Muffins, trail mix and baked items. The bonus with this is you can sneak some veggies into the batter. Try my Chocolate zucchini/carrot muffins. Kids LOVE them (so do adults).
- Drinks: Instead of the single serve Juice Boxes and Drinks, buy the larger bottles and fill Stainless Steel Bottles and Thermoses with their favorite drink. That said, water is always the healthiest option – you can even dilute juice with this method to cut back on sugar intake.
- Utensils: Swap plastic utensils for reusable stainless, paper napkins for cloth, and if your little one loves straws, pack a stainless steel straw they can reuse.
Have you made the change yet? If so, have you seen the impact to your wallet?