While many food corporations continue to encourage consumers to gobble up as many products as possible, most of which become a part of the landfill within the year, some institutions are beginning to shy away from this wasteful practice despite its convenience.
When Canadian schools began to track how much waste their students were producing just by bringing disposable items to school (such as napkins, lunch bags, and all packaging surrounding processed food items), they found that each child was adding 67 pounds to the landfill each school year. That means that a simple class of 25 students would produce 1,625 pounds of waste just in lunch trash.
The schools sought to change this and decided to open up a dialogue with parents and students about employing waste-free practices when packing lunches at home.
Tara Smith-Arnsdorf, a mother living in Toronto who co-founded the blog PAREdown with Katelin Leblond, has been packing waste-free lunches for her daughter for three years now. She does this by wrapping sandwiches in cloth napkins that can be washed afterwards and using metal containers to pack snacks and other items. For soup and other liquids, she sends a metal thermos with her daughter to school.
Heather Loney of the Upper Grand District School Board in Ontario told the National Post,
“The goal of the litterless lunch is to help reduce greenhouse gases that are produced during the manufacturing and transport of all that food packaging,” she said. “It can also help your pocketbook. Some of those packaged foods are not as nutritionally strong as just buying whole foods. Also, they can be more expensive.”
This is something that people everywhere can learn from, as trash in the world is only growing because people choose convenience over the environment. Though the process of ridding yourself of easy, disposable items may seem daunting, there are plenty of resources online to get you started on your journey of living waste-free. Trash is for Tossers is a great website by Lauren Singer, a young woman who lives a zero-waste lifestyle in New York City. She even has YouTube videos about how to make your own products, which can save money and eliminate a ton of waste.
The schools in participating Canadian school districts provide parents with similar information on how best to reduce the waste inside of their child’s lunches. The tips and tricks are helpful for parents and are creating environmentally-conscious young minds that will hopefully transform the way the environment is treated in the future.
What are your thoughts on going waste-free? Please share, like, and comment on this article!
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