Sunday, May 17, 2009

Packing a Cold Lunch is HOT!! How to pack a waste-free lunch!

Did you know that lunchtime trash is second only to office paper, as the leading source of school waste? (for more on lunch waste click here) An average child using a disposable lunch generates 67 pounds of waste per school year, and their waste as adult consumers later in life only increases.

For about one year now, I've been trying to avoid using plastic packaging/utensils when I pack lunches to school. Ever since I took a sustainable design class, I decided to purchase a glass Pyrex tupperware, Sigg water bottle, coffee thermos, reusable lunch bag and utensils.

using real utensils as opposed to disposables can help reduce plastic wastes.

GLASS tupperware as opposed to plastics are the best alternative to plastic bags/wrap. Reusable plastic tupperware can be used but some have been known to contain BPA which is harmful to human health.

reusable Aluminum water bottles as opposed to plastic reusables/disposable bottles are safe, fashionable, and eco-friendly!

A stainless steel travel mug (with coffee from home, or a cafe) will save money and reduce paper waste.

Ditch the old brown paper bag for a reusable cloth/nylon one! it will eliminate your lunch trash and will insulate your food.

During the compact challenge I've decided to use my sustainable lunch products on a daily basis to avoid making food purchases on campus. Not only does this save me money, but it also saves the environment from trash such as brown paper bags, paper coffee cups, foil, as well as plastic packaging such as ziplock bags, plastic wrap, disposable utensils, and water bottles.

According to Yuniya Kawamura in Fashionology, “Material goods transmit different messages about their owners,” (Kawamura 2006). Sustainable food packaging will not only make you look like a smart consumer, but also one that is environmentally conscious. Although bringing sustainable food packaging/utensils can be burdensome (consistently washing them on a daily basis, being less convenient than disposable items.) Small tasks such as these will truly reduce your ecological footprint, and get you through the compact challenge!

- Elaine de Lara

Fashionology by Yuniya Kawamura

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