Litterless Lunchbox Ideas

Send the kids to school with a litterless lunch and an eco-clear conscious with these tips.

Ever considered just how much rubbish is produced every lunchtime in school playgrounds across the country? Yoghurt containers, chip wrappers, plastic sandwich bags and juice boxes are all destined for the rubbish bins; ending up as landfill or possibly in nearby waterways endangering marine life.

Less haste, less waste

According to Pei-Shan Wu, founder of eco-friendly products website Ash n Juls, we produce unsustainable levels of waste each year. She says teaching kids how to reduce waste at lunchtime is an excellent way to show how they can immediately minimise their environmental impact.

  • The goal of packing a litterless lunch is having no waste to throw out when you’re finished eating.
  • Anything that can’t be eaten should be brought home to be washed and reused.
  • With all the great products available today, reducing lunchtime waste couldn’t be easier.

How to pack a litterless lunch

Pei-Shan shares five practical tips to packing a litterless lunch:

  • Reusable food containers: savvy parents should ditch paper and plastic bags and pack kids lunches in reusable, eco-friendly containers such as food-grade stainless steel lunch containers that can be used throughout the school year.
  • Refillable drink bottles: refillable stainless steel drink bottles encourage kids to enjoy tap water right throughout the day. Being BPA free, they are a safe substitute to plastic bottles which are a major contributor to landfill.
  • Buy in bulk and save: cut back on packaging avoiding individually wrapped snacks such as yoghurt, dried fruit, chips and juices. Buy larger sizes and portion out into reusable containers, saving both resources and money.
  • Shop and cook with kids: involve children in preparing meals for a fun family activity. Kids are more likely to enjoy eating their own creations and less likely to throw away food knowing the work that went into it.
  • Buy fresh: eliminate quick fix pre-packaged lunches so that only compostable scraps like apple cores and banana peels remain after eating. Not only is it healthier for the whole family, it supports New Zealand farmers.

This article was written for Kidspot NZ.

What’s your best tip for packing a litterless lunch box?

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  1. felicity beets 04/08/2018 at 6:55 pm

    some great ideas , I am trying to use less plastic wrap when packing lunches. I would like to try the lunchboxes with separate compartments too.

  2. Shelz69 02/08/2018 at 8:04 pm

    I like to buy big and put into little containers, it looks cute but it also saves you money. It makes me sad to see all the plastic that is used these days. So unnecessary. I think my kids enjoying eating there lunch more as its a bit more novel and I tend to fill them with healthy things so its a bit of a win win for me.

  3. kymmage 01/08/2018 at 3:53 pm

    I want to reduce my plastic use further. My eldest has changed up her lunch box a lot lately and so I can see if this continues, there’ll be less plastic. She has a Bento style lunchbox too which helps as I don’t feel I have to wrap everything. I can’t trust them not to throw away plastic ziplocks, otherwise I’d definitely be reusing them. I really want to move away from milk boxes because of the straw, but not sure what to do there. Drink bottle maybe.

  4. Alezandra 31/07/2018 at 10:11 pm

    Timely for Plastic free July and beyond. I am a believer in buying bulk and transfer to small containers if needed. It doesn’t only save on extra rubbish (plastics etc) but it usually saves on money too as they cost less. And yes NO to plastic water bottles.

  5. Mands1980 30/07/2018 at 11:43 am

    I hate trying to think of lunch box ideas with fussy kids but we do have lunch box with 5 separate compartments so this helps a lot with not using plastic as everything is in their own wee areas. I also bought the kids oasis reusable drink bottles which the kids love drinking out of they keep nice and cool as well.

  6. Bevik1971 24/07/2018 at 4:15 pm

    It’s always a hard one for lunch box ideas for the kids, especially when they are fusspots!! We use a stainless steel drink bottle for our daughter, I’m also going to get some reusable food wraps for her lunchbox as I hate using glad wrap 🙁 Her lunchbox does have 4 separate compartments so I’m able to pop loose stuff in there without them going everywhere, so don’t always need wrap 🙂

  7. Jen_Wiig 24/07/2018 at 9:23 am

    These ideas are great but in all homesty i find them abit ideal ….ive troed a number of times ro be waste free with kids lunchboxes but i dont know if its just my 3 boys or common every single time ive given them re usable containers either the lid hasnt come home or tgey havent bothered to eat it because theor too busy cruising aroind school playing to have to go all the way back to an iften locked classroom to put a container away in theor bag …its just easier for my busy active kids ro have something in a packet than can throw away in the school bin or bring home in theor pocket to throw away here, ive spent so much money buying various lunchboxes, containers, honey wraps etc ro use as alternatives and it just ends up being more stress than its worth forbus at this stage…not to say i wont atyempt again whwn boys a bit older perhaps but for now im sorry but convienace for me and my sanity over rides enviromwntal impact.

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