Scroll To Top
Global Stewards - Green Eco Tips for Sustainable Living

Pack a Waste-Free Lunch


A waste-free lunch means that you have no trash to throw away when you're done (just compostables such as apple cores, banana and orange peels). The best way to reduce trash is to not create it.

Print the EPA's wonderful waste-free lunch flyer to post at your school or office - and here are great tips for launching a waste-free-lunch program at your school.


Five Simple Ways to Pack a Waste-Free Lunch


YES
NO
REUSABLE carrier (cloth bag, lunchbox)
NO throw-away bags
REUSABLE containers
NO plastic wrap, foil or styrofoam
THERMOS for drinks
NO single-use cartons or cans
CLOTH NAPKIN to wash and re-use
NO paper napkins
SILVERWARE to wash and re-use
NO plastic forks and spoons

Lunch Waste Facts


ALUMINUM FOIL
600,000 tons of aluminum foil is produced every year in America (880,000 tons in Europe). A large amount of electricity is used in manufacturing foil. The EPA reports that in 2013, the US discarded about 2.8 million tons of aluminum.
ALUMINUM AND TIN CANS
Half of the 100 billion cans sold in the U.S. last year were landfilled or incinerated.
SANDWICH BAGS
Every day, over 20,000,000 sandwich bags from school lunches are thrown away.
JUICE BOXES
Inorganic waste may take hundreds of years to decompose, or may not decompose at all.
PAPER BAGS AND NAPKINS
Every year, enough paper (including paper bags, napkins, and other disposable lunch gear) is thrown away to make a 12-foot high wall stretching from New York to California.
PLASTIC BOTTLES, FORKS, WRAP
Every year, Americans throw away enough paper and plastic cups, forks, and spoons to circle the equator 300 times.
STYROFOAM
Styrofoam is very difficult to recycle. The best way to protect the environment is to stop using it.
BANANA AND ORANGE PEELS
As food decomposes in a landfill it generates harmful greenhouse gases such as methane (try composting or vermiculture!)

(original source: Environmental Forum of Marin).