7 Tips for Packing a Zero-Waste Lunch
Whether your bringing your lunch from home, or buying it at the local café, our lunches often come with a lot of waste; whether it’s plastic wrappers, one-use utensils, styrofoam cups or napkins. If we stop to think about the impact that our delicious mid-day meal is having on the environment, it’s anything but sustainable!
We can however do our best to minimise the waste that we produce by making more conscious choices every day. The first step to creating a zero-waste lunch is to of course, make your own. Think of all the money you are saving by not buying lunch every day!
Start implementing one of these 7 ideas each week:
- Meal Prep
Preparing a zero-waste lunch begins with your food, by creating a weekly menu you can easily plan how to package your food without using materials that are harmful to the Earth. Try to choose ingredients that can be bought in bulk so you can use your own zero waste methods at home to store them without having to deal with excess packaging waste.
- Shop Smart. Shop Sustainable
Once you’ve planned your menu for the week it’s time to head to the shops. If you’ve purchased and prepared your weekly meals then it’s less likely that you’ll resort to buying unhealthy, pre-packaged convenience food. A great idea is to visit and support local Farmers Markets and see what produce you can buy.. TIP: Take your own ecobags and reusable vegetable bags so you can further avoid any one use plastic bags.
- Invest in a Reusable Water Bottle
Most of us know that plastic bottles can leak unwanted chemicals into your beverages. By buying a sustainable, reusable water bottle, not only do you save money on buying bottled water when you’re out of the office but think of how many disposable bottles and plastic cups from the water cooler you’ll avoid sending to landfill or worse still our waterways.
If you don’t want to invest in a reusable water bottle, look around your fridge or kitchen and see what glass bottles from products you’ve already bought could be washed and used instead.
- Invest in Good Quality Containers
Initially, these may cost a lot more than plastic alternatives, but in the long run, you’ll save more, because unlike single-use plastic, you buy these only once and they’ll more than stand the test of time.
- Glass Jars Work Wonders
Glass jars of all shapes and sizes come in handy when packing snacks or salads and also look amazing. Maybe your favourite pasta sauce comes in glass jars, save them, wash them and repurpose them to store food for the fridge, freezer or cupboard – better yet you can even take them to most bulk grocery stores or local Farmers Markets and fill them directly from the bulk bins. #winning!
- Pack Your Own Utensils
By bringing your own cutlery it saves having to use single-use plastic cutlery. Invest in a good set for your work desk so that you always have them handy. TIP: Buy two sets so you can rotate them, one you can take home to wash, and one clean set in your drawer ready to go.
- Take Home the Scraps for Compost, or Setup a Bokashi Bin in your Office Kitchen
If you’re left with any food scraps from your lunch or morning tea snack, pop them back in your reusable container to take home and pop in your compost or worm farm if you have one - or better yet, encourage your workplace to set up a Bokashi Bin in your kitchen for all the staff to tip their scraps into, creating a rich garden fertiliser for the avid gardener in the office to make use of on the weekend.
Happy Zero-Waste Lunching!
Main Photo by Brooke Lark