Monday, September 7

Want to save 246.60 a YEAR?!?!

I wish we could do this here in the valley, but no one would really take this seriously. Plus, most kids get free lunch anyways. And the kids who do have to pay for lunch, probably just pay for it. All those foam plates in the trash can... what a waste! So, lets see if any valley schools step up to the plate.

COMMENT if you plan on participating in you class, school, district or home!


The average school-age child generates 67 pounds of waste - often more than their own body weight! - per year. An average size elementary school accumulates 18,760 pounds of lunch waste in a year.

As we head back to school, our group can make a difference and positively impact our children's lives. Let's do this together. I'm asking all of you to host a Litter Free Lunch Challenge within the first month of the school year:

Step 1:
Coordinate a Day with the Principal/Home Room Teacher to Weigh the Lunch Litter

You can do this challenge with just your child's class or engage the entire school.

The first weigh in should be a surprise so you get an accurate account of average lunch litter.
Have the kids put all the litter from their lunches into a bag and weight it.

Step 2:
Educate Your School on Recycling

Below is useful information to share on the schools website, bulletin board or in class.

Packing Litter Free Lunch: tips on how to make this happen.
Savings Chart: A breakdown of what you'll save by recycling.
The Impact: How recycling will positively impact our environment.
The Recycables: Resources on where to buy a recyclable lunch kit.
How does your school measure up the average amount of waste? Under or Over?

Create a committee to help you with the education program.

Step 3:
Earth Day Check In

Have your class/school make a commitment to reduce litter by Earth Day.

On Wednesday, April 22 do a second weigh-in.
Host a day of educational activities:
Make an Event Out of the Weigh In
Plant a Tree at the School
Make Recycled Art (suggestions: )
Scavenger Hunt Based on Environmental Clues
Landfills are full and overflowing. Incinerators pump contaminants into the air. The waste is expensive too. You could be saving approx $250/year with recyclable containers and utensils.

Most parents pack lunch items in single-use plastic bags, aluminum foil, or wax paper, or they purchase single-serving items that come in their own disposable package. Admittedly, these products are extremely convenient, but the environmental cost to a country is HUGE. Please participate and keep us posted on your progress.


As Americans we have come to depend on the many convenience products that are available to us, and nowhere is this more evident than in the school lunch room. Most parents pack lunch items in single-use plastic bags, aluminum foil, or wax paper, or they purchase single-serving items that come in their own disposable package. We all enjoy these conveniences, but few of us are willing to allow new landfills and incinerators to be built in our own backyards.

Much of the trash we generate comes from the packaging on the food we buy, and lunch foods are no exception. In fact, it has been estimated that on average a school-age child using a disposable lunch generates 67 pounds of waste per school year. That equates to 18,760 pounds of lunch waste for just one average-size elementary school.


Start local! Start a waste-free lunch program at your school. Many schools across the country have begun to do so, and they're truly making a difference!

A waste-free lunch program begins with a statement. A school community decides that it is going to make waste reduction on campus a priority, and one of the best places to start is with lunch and snack waste. Whether the majority of students brings lunch from home or buys it at school, there's almost always room for improvement.

A waste-free lunch program is a process of educating students, parents, and school staff about where our trash ends up and how we, as individuals, can reduce the amount of trash we generate. Waste-free lunch programs favor the use of reusable food containers, drink containers, utensils, and napkins. They discourage the use of disposable packaging, such as prepackaged foods, plastic bags, juice boxes and pouches, paper napkins, and disposable utensils.


A Typical American Lunch

  • sandwiches sealed in plastic bags
  • fruits and vegetables in plastic bags
  • prepackaged chips, cookies, fruit bars, granola bars, cheeses, and fruit leathers
  • prepackaged yogurts, applesauces, and puddings
  • crackers, pretzels, chips, and other snack foods sealed in plastic bags
  • disposable juice boxes, juice pouchs, soda cans, water bottles, and milk cartons
  • plastic forks and spoons
  • paper napkins
  • reusable lunchboxes and disposable paper and plastic bags

A Waste-Free Lunch

  • sandwiches and other main dishes, fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, and treats in a reusable lunch container
  • cloth napkins
  • stainless-steel forks and spoons
  • reusable drink containers
  • reusable lunchboxes

*With this type of lunch, lunch food items can be bought in larger quantities. The packaging can be left at home for reuse or recycling. Waste-free lunches are not only a wise environmental choice, but they are less expensive as well.


A Disposable Lunch

1 egg salad sandwich


1 yogurt


1 granola bar


1 apple


1 package of carrots and dip


3 plastic bags


1 juice pouch


1 plastic spoon


1 paper napkin




A Waste-free Lunch

1 egg salad sandwich


1 serving of yogurt


1 serving of granola


1 apple


1 serving of carrots and dip




cloth napkin


stainless steel spoon






Disposable Lunch

Waste-Free Lunch

$4.02 / day

$2.65 / day

$20.10 / week

$13.25 / week

$723.60 / school year

$477.00 / school year

723.60 - 477.00 = $246.60 savings per school year per person

See for more details

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