It can sometimes be easier to keep plastic out of our homes than it is to keep it out of our lunch boxes.
Think about it.
You’re usually rushed, distracted, and if it’s a Monday – seriously considering the need to go to work at all. These are the moments where plastic packaging can sneak past our good intentions. Making their way into our lunch boxes, then into landfill.
Here are three of the biggest traps – and how to avoid them.
1. Single Use Serving Sizes
Chips. Biscuits. Juice Containers.
It can be convenient and great for portion control.
Let’s count up the plastic though:
- The individual plastic packaging.
- The plastic packaging for those plastic packets.
- The plastic packaging for the plastic straws.
- Plastic containers for single use yoghurts etc.
It doesn’t seem like a lot in one day – but those empty plastic packets gathered together at the end of each year are something to think about.
So let’s do the maths:
1-3 products a day x 5 days a week x 48 weeks a year.
Other options can often be cheaper, tastier and contain less sugar. Including:
- Bento Boxes. Tiny compartments for all your favourite snacks. Purchased in bulk to save on costs AND on plastic.
- Baked treats from home. Think muffins, granola bars, and protein balls. Less sugar. More flavour. Less packaging.
- Trade the chips for fresh vegetables with dip. Try carrots, celery, salad tomatoes, cucumber (fresher for longer when stored in a Veggie Saver!)
2. From refuse to re-use
Why is it that the work-kitchen starts the year with a dozen forks and spoons, but by June you’re down to just one lonely fork?
That’s always in the sink needing to be cleaned.
No wonder you bring in your own. They don’t have to be plastic though. There’s a great range made from bamboo and other sustainable materials. Or you can bring your own from home. Just remember to take them back with you!
Other reusable lunch box essentials:
- Reusable glass or stainless-steel water bottles over single use plastic ones.
- Your favourite keep-cup over takeaway coffee cups.
- Beeswax wraps over cling wrap. They look great and can be used over and over again.
3. If it’s Boring – it’s in the Bin
Let’s be honest. Kids do it. YOU did it as a kid.
You still do it today.
The lunchbox is packed. Then midday hits, someone mentions takeaway, and there goes your good intentions, along with your pre-packed lunch.
The food. The plastic packaging. The time you spent preparing it.
All in the bin.
Now suddenly that sushi doesn’t seem like such a great idea.
But nobody said your lunch had to be boring.
If leftovers don’t do it for you the next day – get creative.
Instead of ditching that container of leftover veggies, try mashing them, adding egg, and cooking through. Warm vegetable frittatas with yoghurt? That takeaway is going to have to work a bit harder now.
And why are we so quick to throw out our salads from home, only to head to the nearest food court and order a salad there? Two reasons. They use ingredients that are:
- More Fun
That’s something you can do at home too. Storing your lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes – and other favourite salad ingredients in a Veggie Saver can keep your fruit and veg fresher for 2 weeks or more. No need for plastic wraps! With an extended life in the fridge – you can start experimenting with fun flavours – fresh herbs, spices – just what your salads have been missing.
Losing the Lunchbox Plastics
The first step in cutting back on our plastic packaging at lunchtime – is PREPARATION.
It’s hard to remember your commitment to reducing plastics in the ocean when you’re already running late for work.
Make a bit of time on the weekend to think about reducing the packaging in your lunchbox. Plan your lunch for the week and make an effort to shop for plastic-free ingredients and snacks. If it saves on money and calories while delivering more on flavour – even better!