Eat / Solutions

9 Ways To Pack a More Sustainable School Lunch

Getting ready to head back to school? Take these simple steps to make your lunchbox more sustainable.

9 Ways To Pack a More Sustainable School Lunch
Stacking Tiffin Containers

The key is buying local and thinking about reuse.  Small changes can make a big impact over your child’s time at school. Plus you can feel great knowing that your purchases go back into supporting school programs and building school gardens for kids like yours!

Back to school is a great time to realign your perspective and harness your purchasing power. At Tools for Change, The Ecology Center’s general store, we have carefully curated several items to make your back to school experience a little more sustainable. Come by and visit us, or head over to our online store to pick up everything you need to start the school year off right.

  • Bamboo To Go Ware Utensils: Ditch disposables by packing bamboo to go ware instead of single-use plastic utensils. They come in a handy pouch, are easy to clean, and they won’t end up in the landfill. Buy
  • Bees Wrap: A reusable wrapper made from beeswax allows you to get rid of the ziplock and saran wrap for good, plus it supports healthy bee populations. Buy
  • Mason Jars: Instead of a disposable container, try mason jars for a simple, inexpensive, and versatile storing option. Salad, cut veggies, snacks, the possibilities are endless!
  • Cuppow Jar Inserts: This American company makes easy to use, bpa-free jar inserts that turn a regular mason jar into a sippable lid or a snack barrier, keeping dressing and sauces separate. Buy
  • Reusable Straws: American use 500 million plastic straws eat day so a reusable glass straw is a great addition to the lunchbox! Buy
  • Stacking Container or Bento Box: Try simple reusable containers like our stacking stainless steel set to reduce waste and make for easy leftover storage. Buy
  • Reusable Water Bottle: Every plastic water bottle takes 6x the volume of the water inside to manufacture and transport. Save money and water with reusable bottles like our TEC Klean Kanteen. Buy
  • Cloth Napkins: Instead of paper towels or napkins, send a small cloth napkin. Throw these in the wash once a week, and never buy paper towels again!
  • Local, Organic Food: Of course, the most important part of the lunchbox is the food! Make sure you're sending your student to school with healthy, sustainable fuel. See below for some tips on what to put inside!

9 ways to rethink the way you pack your student’s lunch to reduce your environmental impact every day, all school year long.

tips for Packing a sustainable lunch:

– Skip individually wrapped snacks to reduce your carbon footprint. Try cut veggies or simple homemade snack mixes and bars.

– Buy and prep your meals in bulk to save money and reduce the amount of packaging and transportation required to bring ingredients to your kitchen.

– Buy local, organic, and seasonal whenever possible. Even better, use produce from your own home garden!