All those juice boxes, ziplock bags, chip bags and snack packs pile up. Making lunches for school every day creates about 67 pounds of garbage per child - or more than 18,000 pounds per school - each year. Students who purchase their lunches from the school cafeteria fare no better.

Tips for waste free or reduced waste lunches

Try not to buy products that are packaged for single use, including juice boxes, string cheese, chips and other snacks. Instead, buy in bulk. Switching to organic foods provides kids with immediate protection from toxic pesticides and food produced organically doesn't travel as far before landing in your kid's lunch box. Try to use a reusable lunch box with removable compartments and beverage bottle instead of the brown or plastic bag. Instead of using a zip-lock back for sandwiches, try a reusable sandwich container. There are quite a few sizes and varieties available at Target, the Container Store, Walmart or your local Tupperware salesperson. Avoid the use of plastic utensils as they cannot be recycled. Train your child to rinse and reuse your silverware from home. Paper napkins cannot be recycled. Cloth napkins work just as well.
Laptop Lunches lunch kits made of Bento-ware are specifically designed to be waste free. Go to their Web site at to learn more.
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