Zero-waste school lunch supplies

back to school low waste low waste school lunches lunchbox reusables school food school lunches water bottle zero waste

                                  Zero waste school lunches 

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After a ridiculously long time virtual learning, my kids are finally going back to school! That means I’ll be packing lunch for five kids, five days a week. Lunch from the school cafeteria leaves a lot to be desired. Not only nutritionally, but also the amount of waste that is created on a daily basis. 

Here are some handy tips to help you pack a low or zero waste lunch for your hungry heathens…I mean kids. 

Invest in high quality Reusables 

 

I love Bentgo brand food containers for my kid’s lunches. They come in many shapes and sizes, but the 5 compartment Bento-style lunch box is my favorite.  

I can easily pack a full lunch into one container, pop it in a lunchbox and be done. The compartments keep everything separate, while the leak-proof design ensures no messes. These can be a little pricey to start with, but they can replace hundreds of plastic bags and single use packaging. I have bentgo boxes that are 3 years old and still work great. You can find them on Amazon and they are sold in some stores. I scored a two pack of these bentgo lunchboxes at Sam’s for only $25.  

Older tweens and teens tend to like these stack-able lunch containers, also from bentgo. If you want to avoid plastic altogether, then these Greenlunch stainless lunchboxes are for you.  

Don’t forget about reusable utensils! We love these utensil sets from Re-play. Bonus that these dishes are made from recycled milk jugs! 

I like these bamboo pieces from Amazon for myself and the older kids.

It’s important that you remind your younger littles not to throw away your reusables! My 7 year old always picks out her favorite color so she’s extra sure it doesn’t accidentally get tossed.  

Reusable sandwich bags are easy to fill up and toss in a lunchbox. Pack sandwiches, fruits, veggies, chips… Whatever you pack, these water resistant bags keep everything fresh and contained. Easy open zipper top for the littlest hands.  

Reusable sandwich bags by mamaroars

Just say no to single use packaging 

Those single serving bags of chips, cookies, and crackers are so tempting. Mini pouches of applesauce, tubes of yogurt, mini granola bars… All are packed in plastics that will take many years to decompose. They are convenient but unnecessary! I like to buy snacks in bulk and store them in sealed containers like these OXO brand.

Include a leakproof water bottle. 

Leakproof water bottles and cups are hard to find! I’ve tried a few different brands but we are currently loving these reusable straw cups from ello products. They have a locking lid so they really are spill-proof!

For older kids I love these spill proof bottles from Owala! I have a hard time drinking water throughout the day, and these water bottles have really helped! I fill it up multiple times a day and keep it with me.

 

Keep it all together with an insulated lunchbox 

We found this adorable set at Sam’s club. It includes the unicorn lunchbox along with four plastic food containers and a water bottle.  

The bentgo lunch containers tend to be a little big for standard kid lunchboxes, so you’ll need to make sure you get a big enough insulated bag 

Don’t forget your ice packs to keep your cold foods fresh.

 cold packs for lunches

Pack cloth napkins  

Kids can be messy eaters! Instead of single use napkins, send a cute and colorful cloth napkin.  I make my own, but you can find cute ones on amazon.

 

With a little prep work and planning, you can send zero waste lunches every day!

I hope these tips can help you pack your own zero waste lunches. Which tip do you look forward to trying?