Back to School with Zero Waste: 5 Tips for an Eco-Friendly Lunch Box

Written by Shannon O'Reilly

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Posted on November 14 2022

School isn’t just hard for our kids, it can also have a negative impact on the planet. Luckily embracing zero waste can make this school year different and eco-friendly! We cannot guarantee these tips will get your kids excited about going back to school. But they'll make them get excited towards their eco-friendly lunch box and protect your wallet!

School is a time of year that's full of excitement for many kids. But, it's also a time when they're most likely to have contact with plastic, styrofoam and other non-recyclable materials. With this in mind, it may seem impossible to get your children excited about school while at the same time making it more environmentally friendly. But don't worry! We've compiled the top 5 tips for an eco-friendly lunch box. These simple tips will make you, your kid and our planet happier. 

Create a Zero Waste Lunch Box

Eco-friendly lunch boxes are an excellent place to start when you begin thinking about how to reduce waste at school. Not only do they help your child be more eco-friendly, they also make their lunch more interesting and easy for them to eat. Here's are some of our favorite eco swaps for your children's lunchbox:

No More Single Use Straws

Straws are without a doubt one of the most wasteful items found in schools. They're extremely cheap, which means that for some reason they become everyone's first option when picking out drinking ware. Unfortunately, straws are made from plastic that is harmful to our world and animals who often consume them. Also, these plastics are difficult to recycle because they always come with food or drink leftovers attached.

Replace it: Reusable bamboo or biodegradable drinking straws can be purchased at affordable prices and can help reduce the use of plastics! Stainless steel straws are durable so you only need one per child. And, the biodegradable drinking straws will simply dissolve. Both options are better for the planet than disposable plastics.

Beeswax Food Wraps Instead of Plastic Wrap

The beeswax food wraps are a biodegradable alternative to cling wrap. These wraps are made from 100% natural beeswax. They are also free of PVC, BPA, phthalates and other toxins. When you're done with them you can compost them in your kitchen. Plastic cling wrap is difficult to recycle and may contain chemicals harmful to human health.

Replace it: The best option is to avoid cling wrap entirely and simply cover your sandwich in beeswax food wraps. They can be used over and over again until they start looking dirty or ripped—and even then they can still be composted!

Alternatives to Plastic Utensils

Forks, knives, spoons—they all come from the same place: plastic. These plastics don't disintegrate quickly, which means that they'll stick around for a while unless they get burned or buried deep beneath the ground. Even when we do burn them they release.

Replace it: Wheat cutlery is a great alternative to plastic cutlery. They will readily break down in your compost if you compost at home, and you can even put them in your green bin when they do eventually break down. The reusable cutlery set is the perfect fit for your family's eco-friendly lunch box.

Bring a Personal Reusable Water Bottle

It’s no secret that plastic bottles are terrible for the environment. They take up space in landfills, they pollute our oceans, and they are often not disposed of properly - all while leaching chemicals into the water or other beverages they contain.

Replace it: Instead of buying lots of plastic water bottles for school, it's much better to invest in a reusable bottle. This way your child can fill up their bottle throughout the day and reduce exposure to toxins such as bisphenol A (BPA), polycarbonate (#7) and phthalates (#3). Plus, when they're done with it they can reuse it at home for years! There is no need to buy disposable bottled water.

Snacks Without Plastic Bags!

Disposable plastic bags are a scourge on the earth. They're used in cafeterias, grocery stores and pretty much everywhere else to package food. Unfortunately these bags are extremely difficult to recycle, since they always come with food or drink leftovers attached—and they don't break down quickly in landfills either. They also release chemicals such as bisphenol A (BPA), polycarbonate (#7) and phthalates (#3). These chemicals can leach into your food and drinks, which is not only bad for you but bad for the environment too!

Replace it: Silicone reusable snack bags are the new wave of food storage. The bags are made from silicone which means they are more likely to be biodegradable than other plastic bags. If you choose not to use them for storing food, they can also be used as a dish cloth or pot holder.

Eco Friendly Future

In today's society, it is important to be eco-friendly and sustainable. Thankfully there are many ways you can do this while still maintaining a healthy lifestyle for your children! Some of these tips include packing food in reusable silicone bags instead of plastic bags, bringing a personal reusable water bottle that can hold up during the day or choosing not to use any disposable products whatsoever.

These simple steps will help reduce waste going into landfills and waterways--and since they're easy enough for kids too, what better way to get them excited about school? Let us know if you have found other (eco) friendly alternatives that work well with your family - we'd love to hear from you!