Putting together Zero Waste Lunches for Kids is easy! With a few simple supplies it’s easy to reduce the waste generated by school lunch boxes!
I’ve always tried really hard to reduce the waste generated by our household. I’m very conscious about recycling and composting, and now I’m working hard to reduce the use of one-time-use plastics as much as I can. I’m also trying to reuse glass containers, and purchase items that don’t come wrapped in all kinds of plastic packaging…which is another whole issue in itself…we need to get rid of clamshell packages! Anyway, I digress. We’re just doing the best we can to reduce the amount of waste our home generates. I believe that all the little things we can do, helps! And one area I’m tackling this year is the kids lunches.
What is the idea of a Zero Waste Lunch?
The idea with Zero Waste Lunches is to reduce the waste generated when packing kids lunch boxes. Basically it’s stopping the use of one-time use plastics such as saran wrap, as well as plastic yogurt containers, cheese string wrappers and juice boxes. One kid can create a lot of waste at lunch time!
It’s easier than you might think!
Instead, we’re committed to trying to use reusable items such as beeswax wrap instead of saran, reusable snack bags instead of ziplock bags, cloth napkins instead of paper, stainless steel straws instead of plastic, compostable cutlery instead of plastic, and reusable containers for packing.
Ideas for Zero Waste Lunches for Kids:
Here’s a little more detail about the items that will be appearing in my kids lunch boxes this school year. All simple to use, easy find and relatively inexpensive. There may be some concern about the initial cost of purchasing things needed for zero waste lunches, but over time not having to repurchase things (like ziplock bags, saran etc…) will end up saving us money!
Reusable Snack Bags:
I found these cute monster reusable snack bags at Winners. But you can find similar styles in many stores such as Walmart, Target, Amazon etc… They’re especially great for things like crackers, pretzels, grapes, apple slices and cheese.
Bento Lunch Boxes:
This Bento box is the brand Sistema. I found it at Walmart, but again these are everywhere…Superstore, Amazon etc. I really like using bento boxes because they really reduce the need for saran wrap and ziplock bags because foods just go into the little containers in the box. Really simple.
Stainless Steel Straws:
I bought these reusable stainless steel straws at Bed Bath & Beyond. They’re great! Just make sure to buy a kit with a cleaning brush…they need to be scrubbed inside too.
If you don’t like the feeling of steel straws, reusable plastic straws are great too. I found this one at Starbucks. It comes with a reusable water cup too…and they’re very inexpensive. I use them all the time and try to have them when I order cold drinks when I’m out and about.
Reusable Plastic Containers:
I have a drawer full of reusable plastic containers that I use to pack sandwiches, leftovers and snacks. I’m trying not to buy the disposable ones (like ziplock).
I wash and collect various glass jars from things like jams, sauces, pickle jars…etc, and I reuse them for leftovers, and sometimes I use the small ones for lunch. Little jam jars are great and easy for kids to handle.
Thermoses are great for packing hot lunches.
Kids need cutlery for their lunches and I don’t like to send my good cutlery, so I’ve opted to use compostable ones. Compostable cutlery lasts for a long time, it’s very durable, so you can wash and use them over and over. Then when they break or wear out, you just throw them in the compost bin.
I’ve started phasing out saran wrap in my home, and have opted to use beeswax wraps instead. They’re durable, easy to use and I love them. Another great thing about beeswax wraps is that you can reuse them for at least a year if you care for them properly, then you just toss them into the compost when they’re no longer useable.
Buy This, Not That Ideas for Zero Waste Lunches:
- Buy foods in bulk and portion them out for lunches. Things like crackers, yogurt, vegetables, granola…
- Instead of buying little pots of yogurt, buy large containers and scoop them out into jars or reusable containers.
- Instead of prepackaged cheese like cheese strings, cut up blocks of cheese and pack it into reusable snack bags.
- Instead of buying juice boxes, pack water and juices in reusable water bottles.
- Instead of paper napkins, use cloth ones.
- Ditch plastic straws and use reusable ones instead.
It really is so easy to pack a zero-waste lunch…it just takes a little initial planning and purchasing, but then you’re set. Do you have any tips for a zero waste lunch?
More School Lunch Ideas
If you’re looking for snack ideas for the kids, here are 50+ delicious ideas!
Have an inspired day!