Lunch Packing Green - Our Daily Green

Monday, August 10, 2009

Lunch Packing Green

sustainable shopping bagSummer vacation is officially over as signaled by the need to pack my child a sack lunch for band camp today. Lunch packing is a universally accepted way to economize, but it also can be a great way to reduce and reuse without adding trampling our environment in the process.

When I was growing up, my mother never met a piece of aluminum foil or resealable bag she couldn't wash and reuse. When I stocked my first apartment, I joked that I was amazed to learn aluminum foil came on rolls! Personally, I'm not a huge fan of even using those items in the first place. I do have a ready supply of resealable containers, including a collection empty delicatessen containers, that I pack food in. I do not buy individually packaged snacks, but rather measure an appropriate serving into one of my reusable containers.

I invested in a few decent insulated containers as well. When my daughter's princess thermos was too babyish for her to use, I covered it with contact paper to a more neutral appearance. There was nothing wrong with the thermos, just the design on it. This is a challenge I issue to all my readers. Before disposing of a perfectly good household item simply as a fashion choice, consider how to change it to something that will be used.

All these items can be washed and reused time and time again. The insulated lunch boxes lasted over 4 years, although this year they will need to be replaced.

One last hint/request. Never, ever, ever use juice boxes. The composition of juice boxes makes them virtually impossible to recycle:

Juice boxes are typically made up of six layers of paper (24%), polyethylene (70%), and aluminum foil (6%). The paper provides stiffness and strength and gives the package its brick shape. Polyethylene serves two purposes. On the inner most layer, it forms the seal that makes the package liquid tight. On the exterior, it provides a protective coating that keeps the package dry and provides a printing surface for nutritional and marketing information. The aluminum foil forms a barrier against light and oxygen, eliminating the need for refrigeration or preservatives to prevent spoilage. The straws are made of plastic and wrapped in cellophone. Multipacks contain six or more juice boxes, and are often wrapped in a cardboard sleeve that displays the name of the product and other specifications, then shrink-wrapped in plastic.

Give me a thermos or reusable sports bottle.

Greensmart is one company that has made a true commitment to the environment. They manufacture all their products from recycled materials.

Packing a lunch that doesn't pack our landfills is a challenge to embrace as we get ready to go back to school.

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