School’s in session and so is one of the most important times of the school day: Lunch!
Lunch period is a fun break in the day when students talk with friends, recharge their brains, and relax before heading back to class. Unfortunately, it is also a time of the school day that leaves behind a huge amount of waste. A student who carries lunch to elementary school creates an average of about 67 pounds of waste per year. For an average elementary school, this is about 18,000 pounds of waste per year. Much of that could be composted or recycled.
End Food Waste Now reports that of all the garbage in the school lunchroom, about 12% could have been recycled, while 57% could be composted. Maybe it’s time for some school lunch lessons! Here are some tips to help reduce lunchroom waste:
- When buying the school lunch, only take what you will eat, and eat what you have taken.
- Bring packed lunches in a reusable bag or lunch box.
- Use washable containers instead of plastic baggies for items you bring. You can even reuse tubs from dips, spreads, or deli food items.
- Bring your drink in a reusable bottle from home or a recyclable bottle. If you bring a recyclable bottle, remember to place it in the recycling bin.
- Use washable eating utensils from home, not throw-away ones. If you have to use plastic, use heavy-duty utensils that are washable.
- If you use single-serving containers, make sure the packaging is recyclable.
- If you do have leftovers, place them back into your reusable containers and take them home to eat later.
For more green back-to-school ideas, check out this post.
Photo credit: Ximagination | iStock | Thinkstock