Back to School: Zero Waste Your Kids' Lunch

Reusable bento box filled with food

By: Alyssa Armstrong

Shopping for the school year usually involves purchasing clothes, school supplies and lunch box necessities. While your kids' homemade meals are made with love (and sometimes the crust cut off), packing their lunch box often includes single-use plastic bags, disposable silverware, wax-coated juice boxes and other hard-to-recycle items that end up in the landfill. Not to worry, there are many easy ways to make lunches with love... and with love for the environment too.

School lunch made in a bento box with different sections

Box it up

Try a reusable bento box. These multi-compartment meal boxes originated in Japan and are a great way to store your kiddos' snacks and treats without single-use zip-top bags. As a bonus, the compartment dividers keep different foods from touching one another, so it's sure to satisfy even the pickiest of eaters. Bento boxes are easy to rinse and reuse, and many are even dishwasher safe.

Reusable bags

Switch to reusable snack bags

If letting go of your trusty zip-top snack bags sounds like too much to bear, consider switching to reusable snack bags. The fun designs and colors will entice your kids during recess and ease your eco-conscious mind.

Reusable beeswax food wrap with food

Wrap up your use of single-use wraps

Bee Earth-friendly and substitute plastic wrap and aluminum foil with beeswax wrap. Wrap up that turkey on white or use it to cover the top of a lidless snack container to keep everything in place. Hand wash in cold water with an alcohol-free soap and use it over and over again.

Reusable straws , utensils and water bottle

Try out these simple swaps

There are other simple swaps you can make. Opt for reusable silverware, straws, water bottles and a dedicated lunch box or bag instead of a paper or plastic grocery bag. Try cloth napkins; you could even make your own from scrap fabric. 

Food in bulk

Buy in bulk

Finally, when buying snacks, try purchasing in bulk and portioning out instead of purchasing single-serving snacks that often come wrapped in single-use bags or wrappers. Plus buying in bulk usually saves you money.

Enjoy the new school year and your zero waste lunch!