The school year ends here on Friday which means I survived a whole year of lunches with our “less waste” system. We have these little storage containers we use to try to encourage us NOT to buy tons of prepackaged stuff, or use sandwich bags, so that we could maybe reduce our waste associated with lunches at least a little bit.
AND IT WORKED!
It wasn’t/isn’t perfect. We never found a water bottle/container that really – HONESTLY – didn’t leak. I have an idea of one that will work – they make them in “adult sized” and they work – but never found a “kid’s sized” one. I’m going to look again before next year. SO! We settled on small gatorade bottles which the kids were bringing home to throw in the recycle bin.
Other things we never did well with:
Sometimes we didn’t do granola bars, but we would often do something similar. The kids just LIKE that kind of thing and it’s hard to find it in bulk like I can their chips/crackers. I tried putting yogurt in small containers from big/bulk containers but they only do that in one flavor which the kids don’t like.
SO! The challenge for NEXT year will be to
1) Find a good granola ball recipe I can do on the weekends and give the kids in their lunches
2) Test out different blocks of cheese to see what the kids lick so I can just cut it up for their lunches
3) Continue to look into other flavors of yogurt in bulk
4) Try to find a kid’s size of the drink containers I think might actually be leak proof
Par of the problem is we’re not members at anything like Costco or Sams so our “bulk” options are limited. That’s something else I might do for next year. Go ahead and get a membership there. Or maybe talk to family about trying theirs out for awhile. It’s not close or convenient to me and the last time we tried it we bought stuff we wouldn’t normally buy – just to buy SOMETHING. So I think I’d probably rather test it out for awhile first.
Either way – I know for sure we spared at least 3 sandwich pages or packages per kid per lunch every day. They only got hot lunch about 20 days total between the two of them this year, so that’s a lot of waste we prevented with our lunches. I think back to years prior and am almost embarrassed by how much garbage we created every day. And truthfully – packing lunches didn’t take too much longer. If you really time yourself, it’s still only a few extra minutes every day and once I got a good system it didn’t seem to be a big deal. Also key was finding the right containers. I want to buy another set for next year and maybe even some more ice packs.
I’m proud of us! It probably didn’t make a big dent on our carbon footprint as a family, but it’s a step in the right direction at least! And if you count all of the steps we’ve made in the right direction over the last 7 years? Then there has DEFINITELY been a change in our footprint.
This photo was taken at the beginning of the year. The lunch boxes look MUCH more tattered now. That’s another thing. Our lunch boxes never make it more than a year. We keep them still because I use them for keeping stuff cold for after a run, but they are BEAT UP.