Eva started kindergarten three weeks back, so we are into the world of school lunches.
We are committing to packing no rubbish into our lunch boxes.
If food needs some kind of wrapping, we use our washable sandwich wrap (such a thoughtful gift from my cousin! Thanks K&N) Ours is from http://www.4myearth.com.au and they sell a range of other food storage type products, such as food covers (to use instead of gladwrap) and insulated lunchbox bags.
Reusable plastic boxes are good for things like yoghurt or just to separate out foods (so the carrot sticks don't end up in the sandwiches...)
However, food generally keeps perfectly well until lunchtime without any sort of wrapping.
This commitment also extends to our work lunches, when we are not working from home. When we are off to work in an office with a microwave, we generally take frozen food leftovers to reheat for lunch. As a standard practice we cook more than we need for dinner and freeze leftovers in single-serve boxes ready for easy lunches. (Cooking leftovers at dinner also means we can always include extras at our dinner table at short notice, and take a sandwich instead the next day. I love knowing we can offer this sort of hospitality)
We use and re-use takeaway 'tupperware' containers. They do eventually perish - after about twenty uses - and then they get washed and go into the recycling.
Initial Time: It takes no longer to pack a rubbish-free lunch of fresh unprocessed food. It does take a few minutes to cut up food and make sandwiches/ wraps that grabbing pre-packaged processed food would I suppose not need. There are whole sections of the supermarket I know nothing about because it doesn't really occur to me to buy packaged processed 'special' items for lunches.
Initial Cost: No packaging rubbish = no cost for things like gladwrap or little plastic bags. Reusable sandwich wraps from 4myearth cost between $10 and $15.
Ongoing time or cost commitment: making lunches takes about 5-10 minutes a day, but the time is not particularly connected to the no-rubbish commitment.
Impact: This photo shows the rubbish from fifteen four-year-olds at Eva's kindy at one lunch time. The teachers noted to me that this was a pretty small rubbish haul compared to most days.
So, acknowledging that this was less than the average lunch rubbish, and a couple of kids were away, Eva's kindy class alone will generate at least this much lunch rubbish this year:
Only fifteen people need to read this blog and choose rubbish-free lunches for us to together save that much waste in a year. Actually in about half a year, as these kindy kids are not full-time students.
We might be only a drop in the ocean, but at least we're not another plastic wrapper in the ocean.
Four posts ( 1 2 3 4 ) from Little Eco Footprints about waste-free lunches - with helpful ideas of what food to pack
Special thanks to the teachers at McDougall Park Community Kindergarten for humoring my slightly strange photo request!