As I gathered info for my Litterless Lunchboxes toolkit, I took the conversation to a bunch of local Aussie parents about the ways they've managed to cut down on plastic in their kids lunchboxes in this world where its almost impossible to buy snacks that aren't hugely processed and wrapped in layers of nasty plastic.
Here's their tips, tricks and handy hints...
Ewa, plastic-free parent of 4
- steel bento boxes are a great investment - especially for the younger kids who spend a bit longer eating at school
- bento boxes are also very convenient, hugely reducing the amount of washing up in the evening compared to a lunchbag filled with containers
- bulk baking once a fortnight has made packing waste free lunchboxes “much easier and less confronting” as the kids just need to grab a couple of items out of the freezer each day
Fernando, plastic-free parent of 5 and teacher
- Bea Johnson was a huge inspiration for their family - she minimised the waste of her family of 4 to just one jar for a year
- Bulk food stores are great as you can bring your own packaging and choose the exact amount of each product that you want to buy
- Challenging your family to a Plastic Free month helps build habits and make plastic-free living a "way of life"
- Making and processing your own food is not only healthier and uses less plastic and packaging, but also reduces the carbon footprint of the food as it doesn’t have to travel from like factories overseas (which in turn adds greenhouse gases and fossil fuels to the atmosphere)
- The money saved by not buying pre-packaged foods, can be spent on things like the more expensive organic wholefoods
- Even just buying a big bag of chips and then distributing it into reusable packaging each day can save A LOT of waste (you don’t have to eliminate easy junk food altogether)
- “you can’t deny the importance of food packaging from a hygiene perspective”, sometimes its not about eliminating it altogether buy just “reducing it and not adding unnecessary wrappers”
- Pre-schools are leading the way with “sustainability programs that teach children about the different bins systems” and get the kids thinking “about where their packaging would go” – its important to build strong habits from a young age
- baking is not only a great way to “reduce your packaging” but also helps you become “more in control of what you are consuming”
- meal prep can be a really great way to pack plastic free lunchboxes
For more tips and tricks, check out the FREE digital Litterless Lunchboxes toolkit