Ways to Pack an Eco Lunch

Top 5 Tips to Having an Eco-Friendly School Lunch

School lunches, whether they are served in house or brought from home, can be rough on the planet. Pesticide-laden foods, mounds of energy-intensive packaging, and a mountain load of waste are a disaster for both human and environmental health. Check out these tips for making your school lunch better for your health, your taste buds, and the planet.


Top 5 ways to eat  a greener lunch

  1. Make It Waste-Free: Don’t be a tosser. School lunches are responsible for mountains of trash. Learn how to make yours waste-free below. And take things one step further by campaigning to use reusable napkins, silverware, plates, and cups at your school in lieu of disposables.
  2. Pass The Beef: It takes an enormous amount of energy, water, chemicals, and grain to make a burger. Even if you don’t want to go completely vegetarian, why not make lunch your “veggie” meal of the day? Learn more about the impacts of meat on the environment. 
  3. Say No to Vending Machines: Sodas and vending machine fare are not only terrible for your health; they also create waste, and use ingredients that can be harmful to the environment. Pack your own drinks and snacks in reusable containers instead.
  4. Farm-to-School: Check out Farm-to-School a national program to connect schools with local farms. Your school will get access to fresh, healthy, local produce, the local farmers will get access to a new market, and you will get better, healthier selections at lunch.
  5. Compost: Food scraps account for 12% of the waste stream in the US. A compost bin at your school can save a bundle in waste removal costs...and it can also save your school the cost of purchasing mulch for landscaping. Whether it’s a large bin that the whole school uses, or a small vermi-composting bin in your classroom, composting at school can reduce waste and save money. Lean more about composting by visiting our composting section. 

Why bother? According to the website, Waste Free Lunches, the average student’s school lunch generates 67 pounds of waste per school year, most of it from food scraps and packaging. And the standard cafeteria and vending machine options are often loaded with pesticides and other chemicals, affecting both human and environmental health. Eating a greener school lunch is healthier for you and the planet.


How to make a waste free lunch

It’s easy to make your lunch waste-free...just think reusable instead of disposable. Keep these tips in mind the next time you’re fixing your lunch: 

Instead of:Use:        
Aluminum foil and plastic baggies          Reusable containers for sandwiches and sides
Paper napkinsCloth napkins
Plastic utensilsReusable silverware
Soda and juice bottlesRefillable drink containers
Paper lunch bagsReusable lunchbox, tote bag, or cooler


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