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Do you ever cringe at the amount of glad wrap you use while making school lunches? Would it make it worse if I told you that a school of 500 kids produces 15 tonnes of rubbish each year from lunch boxes alone?
Don’t worry, I’m not here to make you feel bad. In fact, with any luck, this post will make you feel a whole lot better because today I’ve got an easy solution to the problem of lunchbox waste, as well as a suggestion for making lunchboxes just that bit more fun and exciting for your little ones.
Reduce plastics and feeling great
Last year I vowed to reduce the use of plastics in my household, and since that post, I think I’ve done a pretty good job of achieving my aim. Cutting the plastics from school lunches was the first thing to change. I no longer use disposable plastics like glad wrap and plastic sandwich pockets anymore. But what do I use instead? I hear you ask.
Kylie Etheridge, a qualified primary school teacher and now the founder of Litter Free Living, was fed up with seeing the amount of rubbish being brought to schools in lunch boxes. What I find glorious about her is that she didn’t just adopt litter free living with her family but she also created products that help others become litter free too.
The products have all been designed to help replace disposable items that end up in landfill. That’s a pretty great goal to have because ‘the average Australian family of four people makes enough rubbish in one year to completely fill a three-bedroom house from floor to ceiling’ (Transpacific.com, May 5, 2015). She’s even kept our families’ health in the forefront of their creation and made them out of materials that are PVC-free, phthalate, BPA free and non-toxic! So, you can see why I was excited when I found her and her products.
Reuseable Sandwich Set
The reusable sandwich sets are my favourite. I just shove the sandwich, sunflower seeds, air-popped popcorn (whatever I can think of) in the pretty material bags, put them in the lunch box and off we go. The sizings are perfect for a lunch box too, which means I don’t have to worry about finding a container that won’t fit. They take up hardly any space and if the sandwich is smaller than the bag, I just flip it underneath with no hassle.
I don’t wash them as much I thought I’d need to either. The water-resistant inner lining keeps the food fresh and if it needs it, I just give it a little wipe down with a damp cloth. When it’s time for a clean, I just throw it in the washing machine along with all the other clothes.
She also has bags that you can use to store leftover fresh foods in. Keeping my food fresh in the fridge without the use of plastics is so much easier now. If I have a half cut capsicum or avocado, I just add it to one of Kate’s bag. I’ve been searching all over for a way to keep my cheese fresh without the use of a plastic bag to cover it. I squealed when I got this. It works so well, I love it!
Thanks to Litter Free Living I’m spending less time packaging lunches with plastics and spending more time adding fun to my children’s lunch boxes. A while ago I added Animal Quizzes to my eldest’s lunch box and she just loved the little notes she received each day.
This time I’m adding a nature scavenger hunt. So, every day for a fortnight, my children will have to bring me back one thing they’ve found in nature. It’s a perfect way to get my children appreciating nature every day, and in different locations other than our house and on our bush walks.
In keeping with the rubbish-reducing theme, I wrote the scavenger hunt notes on pieces of an old cereal box.
Lunchbox Scavenger Hunt
Here are 14 Scavenger Hunt notes you can add to your child’s lunch box:
- Find a leaf bigger than your hand
- Find a small interesting rock
- Draw an animal you see on this piece of paper
- Find something round in nature
- Make a rubbing of a tree trunk in your school
- Find a stick shorter than your pinkie finger
- Find something in nature that matches this colour
- Put a leaf in your hair and wear it home
- Find a bird feather
- Find something rough in nature
- Help nature by picking up some rubbish and placing it in the bin
- Find something pointy in nature
- Find a Y shaped Stick
- Bring a flower home for me
Want to find out more about Kate’s products? You can find her Litter Free Living range here or help her mission and like her on Facebook!
Love these. Especially the bread wrap! Definitely need something like that.
If I was going to cut down on the plastics, it would probably be in the fridge for my leftover foods. Whilst I’m confident packing a rubbish free lunch everyday for school, I’m still guilty of popping my half cut capsicum or avocado etc. into plastic ziplock bags. They don’t look nice in the fridge and they don’t get much use before ending up in the trash and adding to our landfill.
I love the bowl covers!
We try to use containers with lids for leftovers etc but I always lose the damn lids and I’d love to reduce the amount of glad wrap I use. It would also be perfect for my bread making… I need to cover the dough while it rises to keep it warm but it is a pain dealing with glad wrap.
Danya Banya says
These all look fantastic, and I absolutely love the idea of reducing waste. We’ve been really trying to reduce lunch box litter by using reusable containers for most of our food, but they can be tricky to fit several into the one lunch box, and so I think the fabric ones would make packing a lot easier. (And they’d look cuter too!).
One area I’d like to cut down on is cheese. We do buy the individually wrapped cheese slices and cheese sticks all those little bits of plastic really add up. I really should cheese in a large block and then cut it up and serve in reusable containers….
I would love to reduce the risk of injury caused by the falling tower of plastic boxes containing the kids’ lunches and snacks. Mine are at childcare and kindy, and while we have no litter in the lunches we end up with towers of boxes each day in the fridge, as everything has to be individually identified. Inevitably, someone moves something which cause the carefully constructed tower to collapse. A bigger fridge would be good too 😉
And I hate how the boxes deteriorate (rather rapidly) over time and we have to buy new ones. These covers would be fantastic for when we start school next year.
Mary Preston says
I’d like to reduce the wrapping on products bought. I am actively seeking alternatives – buying in bulk and from the markets for example.
The wrappings are just sheer waste.
Joanne Bevan says
I am on a mission to reduce the plastic I buy. I currently use ziplock bags to store herbs etc in the freezer. I’ve recently bought a small barrel pencil case to take my cutlery & teabags to work & sport but love the look of the advertised bags. I’m trying to influence our school community to reduce plastic so will buy some bags as an example.
I believe this year I have been on a journey of discovering how I can improve my families lives with clean eating and chemical free products. I have been patting myself on the back for having 90% litter free school lunches but had not even thought of how I store my products and leftovers in the fridge. What I great idea you have invented. I’d love to use them! Plus your right, trying to squeeze all the containers into the lunch box is a push sometimes.
Cling wrap is my pet hate and it frustrates me when I have to use it. When I cant find the lids for containers, the containers are the wrong size, I have no room left in my fridge or picnic basket for any more containers.
Freezer bags also feel like a necessary evil. I try to limit using them at all and reuse them as long as I can but to eliminate them from my household would be a true step forward for my goal of sustainable products only for the household.
I would love to reduce the amount of plastic wrap I use to cover left overs. It is costly and not good for landfills.
James and Co says
I agree we should minimise the amount of stuff we dump in our landfills. This is a very pretty way to do so!
Kaz @ Melting Moments says
Snap lock bags are my naughty addition to land fill 🙁 My fridge is full of them. Littler Free Living’s products look wonderful. What an thoughtful idea for the environment that looks fantastic as well.
The scavenger hunt idea is so whimsically wonderful. Such a lovely idea.
claire evans says
wraps and snap lock bags. they may be easy but we would use way too many and they end up rubbish. i need to rethink packaging that can be used again and not be food for the bin
I would love to cut back on the amount of plastic that comes with so much of what I buy. Need to find other way to but things that don’t come in plastic.
Oops make a typing error should say buy not but