Today, my 6 year old is off on a field trip to watch a play. The children have been instructed (through numerous notes and voice reminders) to bring a THROW AWAY LUNCH. This goes against every grain in my body (and mind). I was a parent chaperone for the trip until it was canceled due to snow. On the original date, I showed up with both our lunches packed inside one lunch box. I figured the throw away bag didn’t pertain to the Mama who was keeping tabs on it.
(Photo by Rafal Fabrykiewicz at Dreamstime under RF-LL)
Since I couldn’t go today, I had to pack a toss away lunch. The teachers (and I understand) do not want to be responsible for 75 lunch boxes at a public park and on the bus (though they told our children that it was okay to bring a DS, hmmmm… go ahead and bring a $200 electronic, but don’t bring a lunch box).
How can you create a disposable lunch sans baggies (I’m-plastic-I-stay-in-the-landfill-for-10-lifetimes)? That is a challenge I’m still pondering as I sit here typing. Here’s the tips I’ve come up with so far. Please feel free to share your ideas!
- Use a paper bag (preferably a recycled one). Using a recycled plastic baggie isn’t a good idea because it will still end up in the landfill, it’s better if you return them to store recycling bins.
- Wrap sandwiches in paper and secure with a (wooden) toothpick or piece of twine/string.
- Send lots of naturally packaged foods (apples, oranges, bananas).
- For a beverage send a paper/cardboard carton that will break down (juice pouches don’t break down). If recycling facilities are available, then send a small aluminum can.
- Make small pouches or envelopes for crackers, raisins, and other small foods using paper or a napkin.
- Only send non-refrigerated foods because the lunch cannot be kept cold. Avoid lunch meats, eggs, mayo, and dairy. Stick with sandwiches made from nut butters (or sun butter).
- Send only as much as your child consumes to avoid waste.
If you must make a throw away lunch, stick to packaging that will break down quickly versus sitting in the landfill for hundreds of years. Encourage your child to look for recycling receptacles and teach them how to recycle (fold up the paper bag, separate out food, fold don’t wad wrapping, empty beverage remnants).