Earth Week Daily Action: Pack a Waste-Free Lunch
If you’re still getting lunch to-go when you’re at work, Earth Week is the perfect time to pick at least one day to start the habit of bringing lunch from home.
Why bother? Because bringing your own has so many environmental benefitsand usually tastes better, too.
Food packaging is a big source of waste. You only need to look at the pile of plastic, styrene, paper and cellophane to know this is true. A simple salad from a take-out bar may generate the following:
* throwaway carry out paper or plastic bag
* throwaway plastic salad bowl or tray
* throwaway plastic or aluminum foil lid
* throwaway fork, knife, spoon
* throwaway paper napkin
* throwaway plastic container for salad dressing
* throwaway paper wrappers for individual servings of salt and pepper
* throwaway straws if you get a drink in your…throwaway cup
And that’s just for one meal. Multiply this by the millions of people who take out salad (or sandwiches or soup) every day, and the impact is enormous. EPA estimates that 780,000 tons of plastic and polystyrene cups and plates were discarded in 2008, enough to circle the earth 436 times, says ReuseIt.com. “These cups are non-biodegradable, deplete the Earth’s ozone layer, waste enormous amounts of landfill, and are deadly to marine life.”
Even if you only consider one fast-food place, like McDonald’s, the impact is significant: The company claims to serve over 60 million people globally each day!!
Another advantage of taking your own lunch is that you’ll reduce food waste. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that most people waste about 30 percent of the food they buy because it spoils or expires. That’s not only a terrible way to squander food, it’s a foolish way to spend money!
Though there are plenty of ways to use leftovers creatively and deliciously in lunches, people just forget about themor don’t make the time to package them up. One way to make sure you’re making your lunch at home and taking it with you is to get yourself a nice lunch bag or box to take it in.
Mighty Nest sells a lovely assortment of non-toxic lunch boxes for kids and adults alike. They’re light, washable and may make exactly the kind of fashion statement you want. You can also find reusable lunch bags and boxes at Target, Wal-Mart and many other stores. Many models are either freezable themselves or come with a freezer compartment in the event you need to keep certain foods cold.
Also, keep reusable food containers with lids handy when you are cleaning up after supper. Rather than cover a bowl of leftovers and slide it into the back of the fridge, apportion the food into lunch-size jars so they’re easy to grab and add to a lunch box before you leave for work.
Better yet, pack your lunch at night for the next morning so all you need to do is grab and go. Keep your own silverware at work so you don’t need to take it in every day, and don’t forget a cloth napkin!
9 Make-Ahead Lunches to Carry in a Mason Jar
Waste-Free Lunch Tips
Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.
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