“Brown bagging it” has become more and more popular over the last few years as people try to save money as well as eat better and avoid the kind of high-fat, high-calorie pitfalls common to fast food and eating out in general. It makes a lot of sense, but a visit to any school or office lunchroom can also reveal a big potential pitfall of the practice – garbage cans overflowing with waste.
With busy schedules, it’s tempting to pack a lot of “convenience” – that is, individually packaged- foods and snacks into a brown bag lunch, but that convenience inevitably costs more both in terms of your pocketbook and the environment. You’ll save on both scores if you go from “brown bagging it” to packing a “waste free” lunch. In fact, the United States EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) estimates that the average student will save about $250 and 67 pounds of garbage every school year by going waste free.
How do you put together a waste free lunch? It starts with a good reusable lunch bag, and a way of keeping food items at just the right temperature so your lunch can go to school, the office, or anywhere else and still taste great. Reusable thermal bags and insulated lunch bags are the perfect solution to both issues. They’ll keep hot foods hot, and cold foods cold until it’s time to eat, and lend themselves to situations where a fridge or microwave might not be available. Reusable bags are typically waterproof too, making them weatherproof for that trek to school or office commute.
To completely eliminate waste, you’ll also want to think about including the following:
- Reusable cutlery
- Cloth napkins
- Refillable drink containers (hot and cold)
- Reusable food containers (i.e. Tupperware)
- Composting food scraps
Outside of work and school, reusable thermal bags can be used for picnics and other outdoor events, and anytime you want to bring your own meals. As part of their lunch every weekday, you’re not only saving money and helping the environment, you’re instilling good habits and practices in your kids.