EDITOR’S NOTE: EACH TUESDAY MY GREEN SIDE BRINGS SIMPLE TIPS FOR GREEN LIVING TO THE CHRISTOPHER GABRIEL PROGRAM. WE ALSO HIGHLIGHT A FAVORITE GREEN SITE EACH WEEK. YOU CAN STREAM THE SEGMENT AT APPROXIMATELY 1220PM (CENTRAL) EVERY TUESDAY AT WDAY.COM OR, IF YOU’RE IN NORTH DAKOTA OR WESTERN MINNESOTA, LISTEN ON YOUR RADIO AT AM970 WDAY.
We’ve talked before about using reusable products, Green Tip – Think Reusable NOT Disposable, let’s take it a step further and make our packed lunches both nutritious and environmentally friendly.
A zero waste lunch means that you have no packaging to throw away when you’re done – nothing other than apple cores, banana and orange peels, peach or cherry pits.The best way to reduce garbage is to not create it.
Tips for a zero waste lunch:
- Use a reusable cloth bag or lunchbox. Avoid using disposable bags.
- Use reusable containers (preferably ceramic or glass). Avoid using plastic wrap, foil or styrofoam.
- Use a stainless steel bottle for drinks. Avoid using single-use cartons or cans. If sending a plastic bottle or can is unavoidable, make sure the container comes home to be put in the recycling bin.
- Use cloth napkins to wash and re-use. Avoid using paper napkins but if you have to use paper napkins, look for napkins that use recycled content.
- Use stainless-steel forks and spoons to wash and re-use. Avoid using plastic forks and spoons.
- Only pack the amount of food you know will get eaten. Get to know what things are getting eaten at lunch time and what is being avoided. Ask your child to bring home lunch leftovers. Looking at leftover lunches is a great way to get information about your children’s lunch preferences. Find out why certain foods have come back uneaten. Did your child not like it? Was she not hungry enough to eat everything in the lunchbox? Was there a birthday celebration at school that day? Did she share someone else’s lunch instead? Maintain a dialogue without criticizing. Consider making a list of foods that your child likes to eat for lunch and update it regularly with input from your child. You may find that she prefers romaine lettuce to red leaf lettuce. By making this simple change, she might start eating salads more regularly. Providing a dip for carrot and celery sticks might make eating them more fun. Source: Waste-Free Lunches
Lunch Waste Facts
- FOOD WASTE: A 2004 University of Arizona study reported that Americans throw away almost 50 percent of all the food we produce for domestic sale and consumption. In round numbers that’s $43 billion annually on wasted food.
- FOOD WASTE: Researchers at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) concluded in a 2009 study that each year a quarter of U.S. water consumption and over 300 million barrels of oil (four percent of U.S. oil consumption) go into producing and distributing food that ultimately ends up in landfills.
- ALUMINUM FOIL: More than 20 million Hershey’s kisses are wrapped with 133 square miles of foil every day.
- ALUMINUM AND TIN CANS: Half of the 100 billion cans sold in the U.S. last year were landfilled or incinerated.
- FOOD WASTE: Food debris in a landfill decomposes only 25% in the first 15 years. Compost that food waste instead of throwing it away.
- JUICE BOXES: Most inorganic trash retains its weight, volume, and form for at least four decades.
- PAPER BAGS AND NAPKINS: It is estimated that 17 trees are cut down for every ton of non-recycled paper.
- PLASTIC BOTTLES, FORKS, WRAP: Every year, Americans throw away enough paper and plastic cups, forks, and spoons to circle the equator 300 times.
- STYROFOAM: U.S. citizens throw away 25 billion styrofoam cups EVERY YEAR.
We must shift our way of thinking, from what is the most “convenient” way to do something to how can we do something more sustainably. If we don’t, we are leaving a mess for our children and their children to clean up. Let’s leave our world better than we found it.
My Green Side’s web pick of the week:
Waste-Free Lunches at http://www.wastefreelunches.org/
Several years ago, a group of eco-conscious moms in California decided to start packing waste-free lunches for their children and themselves.
When teachers, parents, and friends became interested in the concept, they started collecting waste-free lunch information that they could share with one another and with others who were interested. It soon became clear that families in other parts of the country were interested in learning more, so they decided to start putting the information on a website at http://www.wastefreelunches.org/.