Monday, March 19, 2012

Thrown Out Food

As much as we’d like our kids to eat what we pack for them, too often it ends up being tossed in the garbage. Ask your child to bring back any food they don’t eat, so you have a clear idea of how much food they need. You’ll also get an idea of food they just refuse to eat. A waste free lunch is one that doesn’t have food that has to be thrown out. It will also save you money!  

Friday, March 9, 2012

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rot

If you have a truly healthy and waste free lunch, the only waste left is cores and peels. In our school, several classes are practicing the fourth R: Rot, with vermicomposting. Red wriggler worms are friendly little guys that turn leftover fruit and veggie bits into mineral rich dirt. The worms need the right moisture and amount of food, but otherwise are hardy and self-sufficient. Do you compost? Home composting can be worms (indoors) or a bin outdoors. It’s easy and a great way to help reduce waste heading to landfill. For more information, check out Ribbit’s tips at  

What's a Bento Box?

It can be challenging adding variety to lunches. Tired of the same old things? Here’s a site offering ideas.  

And Bento Boxes are a fun adventure in healthy and waste free lunches. Coming from the Japanese tradition, they feature a variety of foods arranged in reusable containers in cute ways. Here are some more sites with ideas.

Metal or Plastic?

Many reusable containers and bottles are plastic. Is there any danger in this? Here is some information on plastic.  According to this article, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration admits that something will always "leach out of the (plastic) container and into the food."  “The toxin DEHA appeared in the water sample from reused water bottles. DEHA has been shown to cause liver problems, other possible reproductive difficulties, and is suspected to cause cancer in humans. Therefore, it's best to recycle these bottles without reusing them.” Because of the questions around leaching, many people are using containers made of glass or stainless steel instead. If you use plastic, look for labels that clearly state BPA free and Phlalate free.

Interesting metal containers & bottles can be found at :
To-Go Ware:
Lunch Bots:
Kids Konserve: 

Plastic Waste

Plastic is a wonderful material. It's waterproof, durable, and can perform an amazing variety of functions.

But plastic has also become a huge problem.

  • Plastic does not biodegrade. It is bio inert. It is embrittled by the sun.
  • The Great Pacific Garbage Patch (North Pacific Ocean Gyre) is a swirling mass of small plastic debris twice the size of Texas and weighing about 300 million pounds. It is composed of entire plastic items (toothbrushes, pens, soothers) and plastic that has broken into smaller pieces that don't decompose. In the surface of the Pacific Ocean, plastic outweighs plankton. Read more
  • 27% percent of the total of the total of what is found in the North Pacific Ocean Gyre is plastic film like that used in packaging. There is no code for knowing what kind of plastic there is. There is no infastructure for recycling it.
  • It's an irony that a product that is meant to last forever, is used for seconds and then tossed.
Charles Moore, scientist, Plastic Soup for the Soul