How to Pack a "No Garbage Lunch"

When packing a lunch, think 'reusable' over 'disposable.'

 Looking for ways to protect our environment?

An easy place to make a difference is with your child’s lunch or even your own lunch. Though water bottles, juice boxes and individually wrapped “grab and go” foods are convenient, they generate tons of trash!

Each year the average child dumps 67 pounds of lunchbox trash costing school districts valuable dollars to collect and dispose of the trash—not to mention the toll it takes on our shrinking landfill space. Re-thinking how your child’s meal gets packed can reduce trash going to landfills and has some unexpected benefits as well.

At first it might seem a bit challenging, just give it some time and it will come very natural to you.  I promise you will never go back to packing a "trash filled" lunch box again!


Simple ways to pack a trash-free lunch:

  • Send drinks in a reusable bottle (stainless steel or reusable BPA free plastic bottle). Prevent another plastic bottle from going into a landfill, or worse, into the ocean. Over a week, a month, a year, that really adds up!
  • Send food in re-usable lunchboxes instead of paper bags 
  • Instead of plastic wrap, foil or baggies, pack food in re-usable containers or re-usable fabric pouches.
  • Consider buying foods in bulk or in larger boxes and packing a portion in re-usable containers
  • Try cloth napkins, or re-usable silverware that can be washed at home.


In addition to feeling good about reducing trash, a few added benefits are:

  • Parents save money $$$.  Individually wrapped goodies and drinks are premium priced, often up to 50% higher.
  • Parents see leftovers that come home. “Hmm. The healthy sandwich has one bite taken, and every cookie disappeared.”  Many kids snack on leftovers after school.
  • Healthier food choices.  Your food and drink options are limitless when you pack in re-usable containers and don’t rely on pre-packaged products, which tend to be processed foods.
  • Children and adults learn to care for the planet. Everyone will learn to Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and Compost.

To learn more about trash-free lunches for your family, visit www.wastefreelunches.org


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