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Green Ham and Cheese Featured on Sep 26, 2010

Challenge

Do you pack your lunch? We challenge you to make every day a waste-free lunch day. We'll show you how.

Individual Result

By packing waste-free lunches for one month, you will reduce your CO2 emissions by 44.6 lbs and can save $20.

Rally Impact

5973 people have reduced CO2 emissions by 125.89 tons by completing this challenge so far. That's equal to turning off the electricity of 169 homes for about 1 month!

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Challenge Details

Rally Points

  • The average brown-bag lunch from home generates 65 pounds of garbage per child per school year.
  • Lunch waste is 1/3 plastic, 1/3 paper, and 1/3 food.
  • Waste-free lunches cost almost 40% less to make than lunches filled with pre-packaged foods.

Think about the typical bag lunch. In your mind, reach into the brown paper bag and start pulling out the contents. There’s a sandwich, most likely in some sort of plastic sandwich bag. Maybe there’s a snack bag of chips or a snack bag of cookies. There might be a single-serving container of yogurt or an individually wrapped granola bar. Hopefully there’s a piece of fruit… perhaps a banana or apple. And maybe there’s a paper napkin and a plastic spoon, fork, or even — for advanced brown-baggers — a spork.

Now, think about time passing. Yak yak, chew chew. Before you know it, lunch is over. It’s time to throw away your lunch garbage. What from that typical bag lunch gets thrown into the garbage? A lot, it turns out: containers, wrappers, napkins, etc. For kids in school, the average brown-bag lunch from home generates 65 pounds of garbage per child per school year. And that’s heavier than most average children.

This Featured Challenge is based on suggestions made by Sandra Dee and canyongreengal. Together, these two suggestions have received 33 positive votes in our Challenge Workshop. We would also like to thank vancouver.girl05 and Carbonara for their environmentally-tasty suggestions.

The Carbon Connection
Much of the disposable garbage in a lunch bag (including the bag itself) is paper and plastic. Like all manufactured products, the manufacturing of paper and plastic wrappers and containers used in the typical bag lunch is a source of greenhouse emissions. Most often, fossil fuels are burned to create the energy needed to initially manufacture the paper and plastic, to create packaging from the paper and plastic, and then to actually package food in the paper and plastic. There’s also the fossil fuel needed to transport the raw materials or manufactured from one place to another. And burning fossil fuels leads to the release of carbon dioxide into Earth’s atmosphere. If we can reduce the amount of paper and plastic we use by reducing the disposable garbage in our lunches, we can reduce the carbon dioxide emissions.

Getting It Done
This Challenge is for all of you who pack a lunch for work or school each day, either for yourself or for someone in your family. It’s time to cut the carbon waste out of your midday meal. If you haven’t given much thought to making waste-free lunches for yourself or with your family, here are a few suggestions about where to start:

  • The first thing you need is a good, reusable lunch bag. You’re looking for a bag that is large enough to hold your typical daily lunch, plus it needs to be durable enough to last at least a couple of years. Your new bag doesn’t need to be hard-sided; you’ll be packing the squishable food in sturdy containers that go inside the bag.
  • Next you need sturdy, washable containers to replace the plastic bags or aluminum foil you’ve been using for sandwiches and other foods. These containers will also be useful for when you buy foods in bulk and dish out single-servings instead of taking pre-packaged snacks. Remember that it’s better to reuse containers you already have than to buy new ones; that way you aren’t responsible for the energy and carbon dioxide associated with the manufacture of the new container. So, before you buy any new containers, look around your kitchen to see if you already have any containers you can use. You may already have traditional containers. You might also start saving other containers, such as ones used for baby food or deli meats or margarine or cream cheese tubs.
  • If you find that you do need to buy new containers, you have choices. If you don’t want to buy traditional Rubbermaid or Tupperware containers, you can always opt for simpler, cheaper alternatives like GladWare containers or Rubbermaid TakeAlongs. When buying plastic containers, look for products that say on the label that they are BPA-free. (Bisphenol A or BPA is a plastics additive that has been in use since the 1930s. Recently, BPAs have been in the news as a possible serious health risk. If the scientists and government safety organizations can’t agree on it, it seems smart to just avoid it.)
  • Once you have the washable containers, you need to get the food to put in them. Buy large bags of chips and then pack smaller portions in your washable containers. Buy large tubs of yogurt and spoon a single serving into one of your washable containers instead of taking individual, pre-packed yogurts. Loose granola in a container replaces a pre-packaged granola bar.
  • After the food comes the drink. Don’t pack juice boxes. Those antiseptic drink box containers (containing either juice or milk) are almost impossible to recycle. Many communities don’t even try. And as a Rallyer, you already know that the single-use plastic bottles of water are a bad idea. So it’s time to find a refillable drink bottle that will fit in your lunch bag. Check your cupboards. Again, it’s always better to use something you already own rather than buy something new. If you do need to buy a new refillable drink bottle, either look for refillable plastic bottles certified to be BPA-free (the CamelBak Better Bottle or newer products from Nalgene) or look for a stainless steel or aluminum bottle. Rinse it with water each night and then wash it on the weekend.
  • Don’t forget utensils! You want to replace the disposable plastic forks and spoons with reusable, washable utensils like the ones you use at home. Take ones from home if you can spare them. If not, buy enough cheap stainless steel utensils (yard sale!) to get you and your family through a few days worth of lunches.
  • Finally, pack a cloth napkin with your lunch instead of a paper napkin. Bring it home and wash it with your laundry. Not only will you cut down on your lunch waste, but think of the festive elegance you’ll be adding to your lunch table.
  • Small businesses often have kitchens with dish washers. If you and your colleagues all bring in extra mugs, plates, and metal utensils from home for the office lunchroom, none of you will have to bring any from home each day! And remember, if you have plates at the office, you don’t have to take paper plates and plastic utensils from the restaurant when you bring in that pizza and salad for lunch.
  • Many colleges, school systems, and individual schools are having success with waste-free lunch programs. Visit Waste Free Lunches to get ideas about how you can launch a program in your school or community.

What are you doing with your child’s lunch this year? How have you managed to tackle the scourge of wasteful packaging in your own lunch? Share your stories and suggestions with your fellow Rallyers in the Challenge forum section below.

Rules of the Challenge
This Challenge asks you to make yourself or your kids waste-free lunches for the next month. (If you normally pack your lunch a few days a week and then eat fast food the other days, then you need to make waste-free lunches a daily habit for the duration of the Challenge.) By eliminating an average of 6 ounces of packaging garbage from each lunch for 20 school days or work days, you will reduce your CO2 emissions by 44.6 lbs for the month. This Challenge is repeatable after 30 days.

Learn More
Green Living: Tips for Packing a Nutritious, Waste-Free Lunch
The Daily Green: Slideshow – 4 Ways to Green Your Lunchbox
Waste-Free Lunches

See the Math
Now it’s time to see just how much carbon dioxide you can save by switching to waste-free lunches. Here are the known or estimated numbers being used for this Challenge:

  • According to a New York State Department of Environmental Conservation publication, a typical, disposable lunch creates between 4 and 8 ounces of garbage each day. We are going to split the difference and call it 6 ounces of garbage per lunch per day.  source
  • Let’s look at that 6 ounces of garbage. It includes plastic in the form of bags and wrappers, trays, yogurt containers, utensils, and straws. It also includes paper products such as the paper bag the lunch was packed in, napkins, other bags, straw wrappers, and so on. Of course, let’s hope that part of that garbage might be more natural, such as a banana or orange peel or an apple core. (Juice boxes are made out of plastic, paper, and aluminum foil. We are ignoring foil.) For the purposes of our calculations, we are going to split that 6 ounces equally between these 3 categories. This gives us 2 ounces of plastic, 2 ounces of paper, and 2 ounces of organic waste.
  • There are around 20 work days or school days in 1 month. At one lunch per day, that gives us 20 lunches per month.
  • First, let’s look at CO2 emissions associated with the paper garbage. We are going to use a conversion factor of 6.1 lbs CO2 released per 1 lb (16 oz) of paper. This is based on a 33% post-consumer fiber paper, so it should be a reasonable number to use for the different paper products in our 2 ounces of paper garbage.  source

Equation

  • Next, let’s look at CO2 emissions associated with the plastic garbage. We don’t have a generic conversion for plastic, so we are basing this number on an estimated 0.11 lbs CO2 released per medium-sized plastic grocery bag. A plastic grocery bag weighs about 0.15 ounces.  source

Equation

  • Adding the numbers for the paper and the plastic gives us 44.6 lbs of CO2 saved per month by packing waste-free lunches. We are not including energy used or CO2 created as the result of washing reusable containers. We are assuming that these will simply become part of your normal dish and laundry washing.

Not that you need more incentive, but waste-free lunches can also save you money. A popular chocolate sandwich cookie costs twice as much per ounce when bought in snack packs as opposed to larger bags. All of that over-packaging adds to the cost. According to the folks at Waste-Free Lunches, a waste-free lunch costs almost 40% less to make than a lunch filled with pre-packaged foods. Over the course of a typical 180-day school year or 240-day work year, that’s a potential savings of about $250 per child or $330 per working adult!

Discussion 160 comments so far

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Very good thing to start! I'll give it a try starting tomoro. I'll go pack a sandwich....should be a bit healthier for me too!
Margaret about 4 years ago
I have a suggestion (something I started doing since the summer!). This is specifically for those that rarely bring packed lunches and buy food to go. One way you can still reduce your carbon consumption is by bringing your own utensils. http://www.re-nest.com/re-nest/tabletop-servingware/green-stocking-stuffer-togo-ware-utensil-set-070795 They're very convenient, cute and practical! I happen to have metal ones, but it doesn't really matter. I also include a small cloth napkin that I just wash with my laundry. It's very compact and you really start to realize how much plastic is wasted on plastic utensils that just get used and consumed in one sitting. And the worst thing is that even if the plastic utensils fall to the ground and no one used them, they still get tossed out. Would you throw out your wooden or metal utensils or just wash them? I also suggest carrying a nalgene bottle. But that has already been suggested! Good luck to anyone that decides to take on this challenge!
tskog about 4 years ago
The reason why my work bag is so big is because I cart around my own food all day long. The real challenge would be to track down the person who steals my food out of the common area fridge. ;) Good challenge!
Chili Diva about 4 years ago
Great suggestions and ideas. I bought a wide mouth thermos a couple of years ago and I love to bring a vegetarian chili recipe with me at least once per week. This chili recipe is a favorite veggie chili http://www.chili-everyway.com/vegetarian-crockpot-recipes.html
shiply about 4 years ago
Great challenge! Love it!
marge201 about 4 years ago
Been doing this a long time. I have a fairly large soft-sided zippered cooler with long straps. I put in 2 freezer bricks covered by a kitchen towel, and a reusable (naturally) container of hummus & veggies, another container of oatmeal, a hard-boiled egg, silverware (right from the drawer), the kitchen towel serves as napkin, and everything goes into the dishwasher or laundry bag. I always take food. In my work, there's often very short or no breaks and I will not be miserable (starving) or fat (buying crap on the run) or broke (spending what, $8, whenever I buy lunch)!!
nickelsalsa about 4 years ago
already do this, but lucky to have a small work with a nice kitchen full of mugs, utensils & such...for granola bars I usually wrap my cloth napkin around it and place on top of other items in my lunchbox
FrogMan50777 over 4 years ago
use a lunchbox, not a bag
MU Geology over 4 years ago
Helpful suggestion: * Reuse the bread bags * Why by sandwich bags when the main ingredient for the sandwich already comes with one?
CerridwynEldritch over 4 years ago
I've been trying to maintain this habit for years now. What makes it easier now is that I had purchased a large lunch bag that I also use as my purse. That makes it harder to simply "forget" to bring along my bag - since I'm bringing my lunch bag, I might as well ensure that I put food in as needed. I have a spare thermos, a large napkin, a handkerchief, chopsticks, and other accoutrements I can change out as needed to make as close to waste-free a lunch as possible. I especially enjoy my reusable sandwich bag - something I can toss in the wash if need be or that I can give a quick cleaning and hang it to dry in the kitchen if it isn't laundry day and I need to clean it - no more plastic sandwich baggies for me. Now I just need to cut back on my Pepsi...
greenman almost 5 years ago
amado waz up r u doin this challange
colonal almost 5 years ago
dis chalenge will be hard for jazia
Lunchville Lady almost 5 years ago
Super challenge! For anyone who wants to live healthier this year, save money, and lose weight, packing lunch is the way to go! Choose products that are well made and food safe (absolutely free of BPA, lead, PVC, and pthalates). If a company or store can't tell you right away if a product is free of those toxins, chances are it isn't. . . .. I'm a mom who created Lunchville.com to offer one-stop shopping for reusable lunch bags and food containers that are completely safe, durable, practical, and attractive. Our gear includes well-known brands Klean Kanteen, SnackTAXI, Laptop Lunches, Lunchbots, KOKO, and Built NY, among others.
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a.schully almost 5 years ago
Any suggestions on how I can make my school use less paper and plastic at lunch? They sometimes set out Styrofoam bowls (when serving soup) and we always use paper napkins. The sad think is, even the forks, cups, napkins, and plates that don't get used, get trashed or sent to the kitchen to get washed! Help!
rallyer31309 almost 5 years ago
I rarely take lunch and even still wouldn't use a paper bag if I did....this is too easy!!!!!
fartimabowen almost 5 years ago
This too will be easy for me. I never take lunch either.
sky_blu almost 5 years ago
This Will Be An Easy Challenge For Me :) I Never Take Lunch
Croe almost 5 years ago
EZ! get creative on the whole 'lunch bag' thing-if a regular reusable bag isn't in your closet look around for old purses, carry-on luggage/make-up bags/cosmetics things(like Caboodles). Several of us bring our lunch to work-all of us use reusable gear.
rallyer30375 almost 5 years ago
This is simple!
openor123 about 5 years ago
awesome i am going to take this challenge
tazstl about 5 years ago
Done this for years... Not a hard thing to do at all. Never got those brown paper bags...
tinkerbelle4 about 5 years ago
I can do this!
chinitaluz about 5 years ago
Great idea :)
mlgodwin_60563 about 5 years ago
I typically like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, tuna sandwiches or soup...so I just keep the items needed to make it in my desk instead of making a lunch everyday and it saves water too since I'm not taking the containers back and forth since everything is stored right there. :-D
kbe about 5 years ago
I always used reusable containers for lunch and snacks. My water is in a stainless steel bottle. The bigger challenge will be to convince my husband to take lunch from home every day instead of buying it at the food court. To save time during the week I pre-pack snacks like nuts and almonds in little containers, one for each day. It is a good alternative to the plastic-wrapped snacks of the vending machine that does not cost extra time on a busy workday.
Carbonrally_Holly about 5 years ago
I always cook food for my boyfriend to bring to work. I try to convince him that is it much cheaper and healthier to bring lunch than buy snacks from the vending machine! I'm still working on him lol! When my son starts pre-kindergarten next year I will definitely be packing his lunch...again it's wayyy cheaper and healthier! &hearts;
dreamer about 5 years ago
I changed from bringing sandwich bags to using tuberwear containers. It wasn't even hard! Im just trying to figure out something for the granola bars though.. any ideas?
savetheearth09 about 5 years ago
i all ready take my lunch to school but not in a brown paper bag, but my friends do if i can i will try to get them to change too.
OurGreenFam3 about 5 years ago
I always pack my husbands lunch. I cook extra the night before and send the leftovers to work in a reusable glass storage container. When I make a sandwich, he brings home the foil to be recycled( he's good) He also brings home used printer paper for us to use the other side on out home printer, and old plans for my son to use as coloring paper :)
tealrangervssnakeman about 5 years ago
wHER is snakeman, have you guys seen him?
blewbariez about 5 years ago
you should call it green eggs and ham like dr.seuss
GoGreen406 over 5 years ago
This is a great idea,I pack my lunch every day to go to college since I go to a community college. So i will go green every day with my lunch. This is my first green challenge and I can't wait to get started.
fourq55 over 5 years ago
I have been packing my lunch for work for a while, always using washable containers and re-using the small paper bags that I get when I buy something small at the store. The bags usually last me months before they start to crumble.
aschram13_75060 over 5 years ago
Being retired, we eat lunch at home, usually leftovers from the previous day. But we did our share while working: my wife and I worked on the same campus; we packed our lunches in washable containers and used our washable cups for the drinks.
Kristy thinks green.. over 5 years ago
mine is a standerd clothes one tht is cute and works great
alsolovely over 5 years ago
I use a cute recyclable bag for my lunch its better for the earth and cheaper and cute!
ReUsies over 5 years ago
My friend and I started a company a few months ago selling reusable snack/sandwich bags called ReUsies (www.ReUsies.com) - check them out they are a little easier to use than tupperware (smaller, pack down when empty, easier to clean)...might be a good alternative for people doing this challenge!
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guesswhoskc over 5 years ago
This is a cool idea. i have already started and i feel great about it!
gogreengal97 over 5 years ago
i rarely ever pack a lunch but maybe for my sis or something or when i rarely do i defintly will! but schools already out so nxt year.
lexii.rawr over 5 years ago
Lovin this idea, great for the environment, can't wait to start tomorrow :D
joelle over 5 years ago
4 days a week I have my lunch with me and It is in glass container and I'm re-using the same fork that I wash! We now buy water by the gallon instead of small bottles... and we stopped buying canes...
green17 over 5 years ago
i've been using a luchbag 4 alomost 3yrs. so that i don't waste any plastic/paper bags
meyow16 over 5 years ago
Tupperware is so much better to use than plastic bags or paper bags. Tupperware or lunchboxes :)
wecan213 over 5 years ago
I love this Idea!!! I sooo can't wait to start!!!
KaylaRosemary over 5 years ago
HaHa I get sooo badly made fun of for packing my lunch every day like that. BUT WHO CARES! I'M SAVING THE PLANET! I have this canvas bag that I carry everything in and it even has a holder inside for my reuseable water bottle so it doesn't spill. I like this challenge.
cupcake140 over 5 years ago
Can't wait to start. This does make sence. I need to start using resuable lunch bag, napkin, utensils and refillable drink bottle.
Kaylanicole1234 over 5 years ago
When i do pack my lunch, i never use plastic bags, always tupperwaree.
Mags over 5 years ago
This challenge was easy. I was surprised how much of this challenge I already did without even thinking. My Mom has always been big on reuse instead of recycle. The only thing I think we sometimes do is have milk or juice boxes but we do recycle these. I already am doing all the other things though!
amigogirl8885258 over 5 years ago
yep i changed my paper bags to lunch box. and i should start using tupperware instead baggies. thanks!
ViviL over 5 years ago
i pack my lunch to school most of the time and i use a reusable lunch bag but i put my sandwiches in the plastic ziplock bags. I'm going to start using containers now! ^^ But i think i would have to cut my sandwich to make it fit :D
GabyG333 over 5 years ago
I packed a brown paper bag lunch for majority of the school year. I thought I was being eco friendly by using the paper bag rater than a plastic one, but who new the paper bags could still hurt. This opened my eyes, and I'll be using a reusable lunch bag from now on.
izzyisgreen over 5 years ago
This is gonna be wicked!
mmpalazzo over 5 years ago
Will all of those containers fit in the lunch bag?
hbby1610 over 5 years ago
i'm loving the benefits of packing lunch! (=
future.star11 over 5 years ago
my mom does this she puts in a Glad container and brings it to work then brings it home and we use over and over and over and over!!!
Hannah W. over 5 years ago
I don't have a bagged lunch...what to do?
kittyissuzy over 5 years ago
it is way easier to bring my own lunch box with containers.Plus i dont have to deal with maybe a pb&j sticking to the plastic bag.
danceL0VExoxox over 5 years ago
i always us a lunch box but i never thought of the little plastic bags...im gonna try containers now..
rallygirl11 over 5 years ago
i can't wait to try this! :] now that i think of it, i waste so much :/ but im totally ready to change that!
rallyer24075 over 5 years ago
>>> i am soo trying this ! ive never thought of all the waste i create for the world EVERYDAY and now i am committing myself to saving the planet!
Dalaroo (Carbonrally) over 5 years ago
I got oilcloth in Mexico and made an awesome lunch bag (I also made some for my friends and family - they're kitschy and stylish). Here's a link on how: http://www.marthastewart.com/article/oilcloth-crafts-lunch-bags
Ella1073 almost 6 years ago
I need to go get a lunchbox, but I will do this as soon as I can. :)
Abazzy almost 6 years ago
I bring reusable containers to school, I remember I bought them in October and I still use them!
milli.is.silly almost 6 years ago
i love this! i love how not only do you save the planet but also some money!
bri822 almost 6 years ago
i dont even bring a drink to school you can just get water from the water fountain.
Bubble Butt almost 6 years ago
Oh yeah. Reducing pollution one pound at a time...
love.not.hate almost 6 years ago
wow...that was easy...now i know i am helping :)
WhoaNinkaa(: almost 6 years ago
Accepted :D Haa This'll Be Easyy && Green :) Whoop Whoop
cl3verkat1607 almost 6 years ago
I never really thought about the amount of plastic bags I use in my lunches, but after adding up all the times I use those Ziplocks, I think it's time I switched to Gladware and a reusable lunchbox!
RUANstoppable almost 6 years ago
Oh sweet. This'll be easy! Haha, I use a little cute japanese bento box for my lunches, along with a cloth sack. Wayy cuter&less waste!(:
that.girltara almost 6 years ago
I have this awesome lunch box made out of old juice boxes i love it! I always bring my own lunch, my school lunch is gross!
StephanieJoy016 almost 6 years ago
I do everything but the napkin and sometimes the utensils. But I'am ready to make the change!! :)
peace;luv;music almost 6 years ago
I already do this! This makes me feel great knowing I've been helping the planet (:
thisyearsmodel almost 6 years ago
another way to bring drinks to school is to just reuse a regular poland spring bottle or another one of those regular bottles, it works just as well!
softball_track_xo13 almost 6 years ago
This is a good idea:]
activist_hippy almost 6 years ago
I have the coolest dinosaur lunchbox that I already use every day, but now I'm going to make sure the things inside are waste free!
peaceloverecycle97 almost 6 years ago
i haven't bought ONE school lunch this year... i use a cute polka-dot reusable bag everyday!
iHearMyECHO almost 6 years ago
I normally use a paper bag and I havent realized ive been throwing away a tree! I feel so guilty! Im gonna do whatever I can to keep my lunch waste-free! I will not cheat on this! ;D
violetriot almost 6 years ago
I'm starting this challenge right now, packing my lunch with reusable containers and asking my mom to buy bulk food items instead of individually packaged stuff! Thanks :) I'm going to get my whole lunch table into this
rallyer19613 almost 6 years ago
This is great when i go back to school monday i am deffinitly going to start doing this<3
ikick123 almost 6 years ago
I have always taken my lunch to school because the school lunches are not usually edible, but I never thought about how many paper bags I was using up! This challenge was so easy to do, and I'm glad I did it.
lolaluvzGREEN!!! almost 6 years ago
This is AWESOME...so glad so many ppl are doing this!!!!!!!
rallyer18460 almost 6 years ago
i totally didnt even realise this...i thot i was saving by brown bagging, i got a lunch pack but i didnt realise that the ziploc bags were bad for earth too. i feel bad putting dirty stuff in the recycle, but the reusables will be so guilt-free. YAY!
NeyNey<3 almost 6 years ago
this is a great idea!
Mindlessartist almost 6 years ago
I started this challenge and bought this cute hello kitty lunch box set and forks and spoons and everything else to go with. Who said you can't help the environment and look cute doing it.
cloudypoogle almost 6 years ago
I take my lunch to school with me in a brown bag, but reuse it for the rest of the week, and use plastic bags for chips/treats, which I also reuse. This is such a great challenge! I'm sure that this will help the envirnment a great deal!
screamoluvrgrl almost 6 years ago
im gonna try this gonna ask to get a reusable lunchbox.
Liv for Forks almost 6 years ago
YAYYYYY! I go to private school so we wash our trays and silverware. We(the environmental club at school led by vice principal) set up a system where before we put our trays on the belt, we put a recycling bin near it, where we would throw the napkins in and they get placed in a separate bin to reduce waste!
skinnyskeleton almost 6 years ago
wow. yay. i never use paper bags. nd i reuse the ziplockks 24/7.
fobluvr4 almost 6 years ago
My mom always makes me reuse everything. My friends always look at me like I'm weird but so what. At least I'm helping the enviroment.
robdip9 almost 6 years ago
This is incredible. really puts a nice hopeful outlook for the future.
Karen almost 6 years ago
Not only does this save the environment, it saves money as well! I've been making up a big pot of soup over the weekend, and filling a reused pickle jar to take for lunch in my bought-at-Goodwill lunchbag. I pour it into a bowl I keep at school, heat it up, and enjoy a waste-free healthy lunch. Usually add some homemade bread in a much re-used plastic baggie, and dab my lips with a line-dried cloth napkin from home. Even have darling daughter and handsome husband taking their lunches in re-usable containers. Obnoxious teenage son has to eat school lunch, but we make him take out the compost which he ends up getting all over himself. Hehehe
VSCC-Kindle Farm School almost 6 years ago
Every Wednesday our school goes skiing at Statton Mountain. On those days, we always pack bag lunches! On other days, we make our own breakfast and lunches, and snacks using local food or products raised at our farm.
carbon foot57 almost 6 years ago
this is goning to be so good for the envorment
dogmomcmb almost 6 years ago
i stay at home, so i rarely pack a lunch. my husband does. he does use a reuseable cooler; but INSISTS on prepackaged fruit cups, yogurts even the little bottles of water. he claims it's 'too much hassle' to go green in this regard. won't even use our flatware; plastic again. what am i to do with him?!?
Ruth about 6 years ago
I always use containers that I can reuse.
ninaj about 6 years ago
My daughter uses a "laptop lunchbox", made in Calif. by Obento. A little pricey at $40, but well made--should last through elementary school at least.
Toots about 6 years ago
It is interesting to see something we grew up with and always used with our ouw children, is now being toted as a new consept. Supersizing and individually wrapped portions will be the death of our country. Instead of chips, why not celary or carrot sticks. Don't buy the baby carrots that already have their skin pealed off. It only takes a few minutes to peal a few days worth and cut them up. Save the container you buy other products in like crab meat or spreadable butter, and use them over and over. Make your own cookies on the weekend, and peanut butter and crackers. Score an orange skin for your child to peal at school or make jello at home and forget the individual fruit cups and packaged jello and pudding. I still put my sandwich in a tupperware container I bought when our children were in school,15+ years ago.
katshealthyhome about 6 years ago
Great idea! I pretty much do this already with the exception of the napkin. It's also a lot healthier than eating out.
badbear27 about 6 years ago
Quite simple and very helpful as you can use the sturdy things for a number of other things when not in use in your lunch bag. I bring them on long trips for the younger children at the daycare and I use them in class to snack while I study.
hellokittyninja about 6 years ago
Wow i do this everyday for my hubby. I never knew it actually helped!!!
o0Solace0o about 6 years ago
I will pwn noobs at this.
agent47 about 6 years ago
Im up for the challenge to turn this world around and make it better for everybody. Oh by the way i rule!!!!
yuka about 6 years ago
This is an awesome idea. Check out this cute bra to help you carry around your reusable chopsticks! http://www.swyyne.com/2008/10/08/speaking-of-bras-triumphs-my-chopsticks-bra/
isabella about 6 years ago
I use topperwere to carry my lunch, if i use plastic bags i keep and use agian, like 4 or 5 times more.
MrHall about 6 years ago
I started doing this last spring. I had always "Brown Bagged it" as a matter of frugality, but always reused the bags...then I discovered these tins at an Indian Importer store in Brattleboro VT, called Adivasi. They are stackable stainless steel. I no longer buy plastic or wax bags for my sandwich, or salad, or pie, or chips, apple slices, granola bar (this is where I create one wrapper worth of waste)..so far I have not only used this at school but also when my wife and two kids go anywhere we pack two of these tin sets full of anything we might eat! They are wonderful and many folks have commented on them at school....they look like camping kits (although I have never actually seen anything quite like them.) I guess they are the typical lunch box in India.
wasmith21 about 6 years ago
I just want to clarify my daughter's "plastic spoons & forks" are the highly durable, reusable kids kind...the kind you throw away, those are not okay and we are not pretending that they are ;-P
wasmith21 about 6 years ago
I recently cut back my hours at work so that I can drop-off/pick-up my daughter who justed started pre-k :) I have to eat lunch at my desk. It's great! My daughter takes her lunch to school in a highly durable and easy to clean lunchbag we got from Land's End, she has containers for her sandwiches, a couple different plastic cups for her drinks (no baggies or paper napkins allowed in our house!) and uses her plastic spoons and forks. The area we are slacking in is the pre-packaged granola bars, raisins, fruit snacks, applesauce, and yogurt. My lunches and my boyfriends lunches sort of revolve around whatever we have around the house for her lunches, so fixing up her lunches should get us straight with ours, too! I am glad to accept the challenge to make our lunches even more eco-friendly. This is just what we needed...
rallyer8017 about 6 years ago
I have been doing it for past 12 years
LaurenzoDub about 6 years ago
this is great! (oh i 4got! my momo packs my lunch 'cuz i wake up late!) oh well, i'll try. she isn't quite into this whole carbon rally thing just yet.
Big Foot about 6 years ago
I do this everyday
snowflakey116 over 6 years ago
I do this every day, but I'm trying to avoid the plastic wrap and the throwing-away of plastic bags.
INBRYO over 6 years ago
I actually Cook my own natual food (im hispanic so will be hispanic food LOL) at the house then pack it in a portion size containers (to watch my weight too), to take for lunch and dinner since i work 2 shifts, then i come back home and clean my plastic containers and re-use them again. I have this plastic containers for over 6 months and they are still looking like new and i will use them until they breack or so. I play in a band call INBRYO from Dallas, TX im the drummer, we have played with Otep before, we support their Ideals and what they stand for 100% Erick INBRYO http://www.myspace.com/inbryo http://www.inbryo.com
Caroline over 6 years ago
You can also use wax paper bags as an alternative to plastic sandwich bags
Blossom over 6 years ago
Now that I am join a Green team I am very conscious of carbon waste. I have managed to maintain the same lunch container for the past months. I simply use it for every menu. It is also been used for sandwiches, soups and salads. This cuts back on special zip lock bags, special soups containers, and salad bowls. I just don't feel crowded anymore with unnecessary items.
icek8girl over 6 years ago
its fixed!
soccerman over 6 years ago
I do this everyday.
dmmoore over 6 years ago
After reading the first few comments on this when the challenge first started I changed from wax paper for my sandwiches to gladware. The bread fits perfectly in the container and it also keeps it from getting smashed!
Administrator over 6 years ago
icek8girl - Catch you on email to help you wit this accept button issue you are seeing.
icek8girl over 6 years ago
somehow I cant click on the 'accept' button when I want to accept. it just isn't there for me. why?
icek8girl over 6 years ago
we have recycling and compost bins at school for our lunches. foil can also be recycled from our lunches. it is a great way to reduce carbon!
Cowan over 6 years ago
Since I started eating leftovers for each lunch, packed in reusable tupperware. I also feel better and am eating healthier. I don't use a napkin, because I have a beard. Great challenge.
maatsat over 6 years ago
I've been doing this for months since I started going greener & realized the eco-impact of my Lean CUisine lunch packaging...so I switched to a lunch box, and reusable containers & even go so far as to bring my Mountain Dew can home to recycle it, since my workplace only has plastic recycling :( The cloth napkin idea I saw above is a great idea, since I use paper napkins provided at work; with the cloth napkins I'll be able to add in one more reusable item to my lunch!
TemLo over 6 years ago
i do bento box lunch as a hobby, so i already do this. it's fun, and a lot more rewarding than a sandwhich and chips! <a href=http://www.cookingcute.com>cookingcute.com</a>
Stan over 6 years ago
Check out Laptop Lunches: http://www.laptoplunches.com We were together with some folks this weekend and two families recommended them. Here is their pitch from their website: <br><br> _Laptop Lunches are American-style bento boxes designed to help families pack nutritious, environment-friendly lunches for school, work, and travel. Our sustainable lunch containers – which come with a book of healthy lunch ideas and lunchmaking recipes – are reusable, recyclable, and dishwasher safe. Our lunchboxes do not contain phthalates, bisphenol A (BPA), or lead._
ThosePoggies over 6 years ago
One of us does this well, but the other is having trouble letting go of lunches like mom used to pack. Not only will this be a Greener way to have lunch at the office, but Healthier, too! Good-bye Snak-Pak, Hello homemade treats!!
rhi.phoenix666_47165 over 6 years ago
funny i've been doing this for some time now and it just didnt' occur to me exactly what i was doing. how when you start to be conscious on the impact that is being made to the environment leaks into your subconscious and you just start doing "green" things without even knowing it!
delirium696_12804 over 6 years ago
i dont eat much as it is..and usually my lunch ends up in my pocket in a paperbag anyways so this challenge will be easy for me
kayli over 6 years ago
I've been accustomed to using sandwich bags for as long as I can remember! School is starting in a week and so this challenge is definitely going to be a challenge for me. But hey, it's such a good idea to save the world though! haha :)
'07Prius over 6 years ago
My son's school wanted to promote Earth Day last year. Their intention was good, but they gave every single kid in the school a plastic bag and encouraged them to use it all week. I wanted to beat someone. This would be instead of putting food on a tray that gets washed. At work, a ton of plastic goes in the garbage and this is sorely needed.
madmolly over 6 years ago
This is an easy one for me. I already take my lunch everyday. And I bring my own containers. Paper napkins are my downfall. But I have plenty of cloth ones, so I can start using them now.
john_wuenschel over 6 years ago
Thanks for the idea. I'll do it.
Ellie over 6 years ago
i think this is a marvolous idea!!!
aschram13_75060 over 6 years ago
Sorry we cannot help here: we have been retired for 13 years and eat our lunches at home. However, I have to say that we did exactly the challenge for the 30 years during which I took my lunch at work, and my wife did the same for 15 years. Actually, we ate our lunch together in my office.
jeneko over 6 years ago
not only do I already do this, but have done it my entire life.... it's a little something that I picked up from my parents, who even have personalized lunch bags that last a lifetime. Our entire family has actually been doing this for as long as I can possibly remember. yay!
jvanwyke over 6 years ago
Ooh boy. Read this challenge while eating lunch at my desk and now am sheepishly eyeing my two napkins, disposable cup, paper sack, yogurt container, plastic spoon and Zip-Loc bag. All headed for the trash. But not after today! Thanks for making what at first seemed impossible, do-able!
Joanie over 6 years ago
School starts Wed. and I've been looking for hot and cold reusuable containers. I've used a lot of ziplok bags, but no more. I'll have to put into practice today for our trip to the beach. It's also a great way to get the serving sizes into a healthier size.
LowCarbDiet over 6 years ago
Awesome! We've feel fairly good at this for some time, but I never saw a quantitative assessment before. We can (and will) certainly improve!