In some states and districts, the new school year has already begun, but for millions of students and teachers around the country, school starts back tomorrow. When the school schedule quickly becomes routine, parents find themselves at their busiest, especially when it comes to packing a healthy, reusable lunch for their kids.

With a lack of time, it's easy to become reliant on fast and convenient foods for lunch which is often associated with disposable, single-use packaging. But what impact do these fast foods and wasteful lunches have on our health and the environment?

By making just a few simple changes to your daily routine, you can be on your way to a healthier, more affordable, and eco-friendly lunch.

Tips to getting started on a waste-free, reusable lunch:

  • Use glass or stainless steel bottles instead of a disposable bottle. Reusable BPA-free water bottles are a great alternative, too.
  • Swap out plastic utensils for bamboo or stainless steel utensils.
  • Instead of paper towel or napkins, pack cloth napkins that can be used again.
  • Opt for paper, stainless steel, glass or even bamboo straws before buying plastic straws.
  • Say goodbye to plastic bags, wrap, and foil, and hello to fabric sandwich bags that are reusable and eco-friendly. 
  • Invest in a reusable lunch bag or box that is non-toxic.

Health Benefits of a Reusable Lunch

Reusable lunches contain no prepackaged foods, so you are likely to pack fresher ingredients that don't contain high levels of sugar, preservatives, and artificial colors and flavors. A waste-free lunch also means non-toxic gear. When you choose safer, reusable lunch materials, you're helping to avoid toxic chemicals like BPA, lead, phthalates, PVCs, and heavy metals which, over time of ingesting, can lead to health problems.

Save the Earth

Packing this type of reusable lunch will help you reduce the amount of disposable packaging and waste going into landfills. If there's any food left over, consider composting it.