This post is sponsored by Green Sisterhood but, as always, the opinions are my own.
I have been packing waste-free lunches since my children started school. When they were young, they took whatever reusable items I used without question. At around age 10, however, that started to change. I’m starting to run into the “cool factor”. Some of these items somehow aren’t cool anymore. So far, water bottles and the lunch bag itself are fine. Reusable snack bags and eating utensils, not so much. When my 12 year old grabbed the bamboo reusable utensils I received for review from Wild Mint Shop and asked if she could use it, I knew I had a winner. We passed the “cool” test!
Now, I’m not usually one for being trendy or giving in to such things. Why can’t she just grab a metal spoon or fork from the drawer? Sure, she could, but will she? Probably not. She’s 12. Is this really a battle I want to fight? Heck no. In the end, as long as she’s not using a plastic disposable utensil and understands why she shouldn’t, I’m happy. So if it means getting utensils made from sustainable bamboo in an awesome little case, why not!
Why Pack Waste-Free Lunches
There are so many reasons to pack a waste free lunch. Wild Mint’s Lunch Savers tips and tricks guide sums it up fantastically – “Saving Your Money, Your Health and the Environment”. If I were to write my own waste-free lunch guide, this would be it. If you’ve read my blog at all, you know that I am an engineer and I need facts and solutions. This guide totally fits the bill!
Here are just a few facts from the guide:
- By Wild Mint’s calculations and extensive chart, you could save over $400 per year per child by choosing reusable vs. disposable lunch packaging.
- Many disposable packaging contains harmful chemicals which can leach into your food. These chemicals can cause harm over time.
- Packaged items often contain other undesirable ingredients like preservatives, and extra fat, sodium and sugar.
- A school age child’s disposable lunch accounts for an estimated 67 pounds of trash per school year.
- Plastic and Styrofoam do not break down over time and can stay in the environment for hundreds to thousands of years.
The guide goes on to point out what to look for in reusables and provides options on the site. “At Wild Mint, we are passionate about helping families live healthier, safer, and more environmentally friendly lives. On our website, www.WildMintShop.com, we offer a one-stop shopping destination where people can find only the best and safest products, information on toxic chemicals, healthy living tips, recipes, and more.”
How To Start
Just do it! Pick one item or go all out. Wild Mint’s How to Pack a Healthy, Non Toxic and “Green” Lunch for Children guide is a great place to start. Most children in my area use reusable water bottles and reusable lunch bags so that’s always an easy place to start. For me, I think the reusable bottle is a “no-brainer”. If you are still buying prepackaged drinks, STOP! Get a bottle and fill it. You will save the cost of the bottle in no time. We use ours daily for school, sports, and outings of all kinds.
If your children are older, get their input. As I mentioned, I have already seen a small revolt against our reusable snack bags. My kids tell me that the ones we have are too “little kiddish” looking. So this year I will be letting them pick out their own designs. My girls have each found patterns they love on Wild Mint Shop.
Add More Reusables
If you have the basics covered, think about adding a few other items to complete your waste-free lunch. Adding reusable napkins, utensils and even straws can save your children time as well. If lunch at school is anything like it is here, children have about 20 minutes. Lunch rooms are crowded and it can take a few minutes to navigate your way to the plastic utensils and napkins.
We have been using the to go ware bamboo flatware everywhere we go and even at home. They have easily become a useful addition to our reusables. The knife easily cut through the tomato and mozzarella salad. I really appreciate the fact that the utensils are made of a sustainable material like bamboo and the case is made from recycled PET plastic.
Which reusables are your favorite?
The Greening Of Westford readers will receive 10% off any orders from Wild Mint Shop until September 4, 2014 using the code “WildMint”.
Wild Mint Shop is also giving you a chance to win an e-gift certificate worth $120.