5 Solutions to Packing a Waste-Free Lunch

Back-to-School with a Waste-Free Lunch

According to wastefreelunches.org, families can save nearly $250 per year PER PERSON just by packing a waste-free lunch! That’s $1,000 a year for a family of four!

You know that time between Memorial Day and Labor Day they call Summer?  It came and went so fast!  And now here we are again, with children preparing to go back-to-school, school buses slowing down morning commutes, and a buzz of conversation about after-school classes, where to find non-toxic school supplies, and idea swapping on the age old dilemma … what to pack for your kids lunch.  Just this past week I put a PB&J sandwich into my daughter’s PVC free sandwich bag for her first packed school lunch of the year… and she turned her nose up at it!  What’s a mom to do?

Solutions to what to pack for lunch are many, but what about a waste-free lunch? You know, a lunch that’s not filled with lunch-size-that or mini-this that build up your grocery bill (and landfill!). According to WasteFreeLunches.org, families can save nearly $250 per year per person just by packing a waste-free lunch.  With that thought in mind, I looked online to see what PVC-free products I could find that would help me pack a waste-free lunch. 


At first, for lunch bags, I came across EcoLunchbag and the EcoLunchWrap Reusable Lunch Bag which might be nice for packing myself lunch, but I wasn’t so sure about my 9yo. I think a couple of the Stainless Steel Bento Boxes tucked inside her Crocodile Creek lunchbox we got her a couple of years ago might be better suited for her, or the Stainless Steel Stackable Lunch Box – both look like they could last her through high school!


My daughter goes through a few reuseable water bottles per school year, either loosing them or dropping them so much that the tops break. I now only get her stainless steel water bottles, which you can find online for less that ten bucks, or locally at River Valley Market Co-op or one of the other great health food stores in our region.


Hilltown mom, Erin Kelly-Dill of Plainfield is the mastermind behind snackTAXI Reuseable Sandwich Bags (pictured above).  We’ve been using these for years and love them.  You can pack them with sandwiches, pretzels, cherries… you name it!


When thinking about reusable cutlery, I found a Bamboo Utensil Set, which I rather fancied, but then I decided I would just pick up a few stainless steel forks and spoons at the thrift shop and be done with it.


And last but not least are cloth napkins.  If you can sew, you could always make your own cloth napkins. But if you’re not a sewer, my vote is to pick up a 12-pack of bandana’s.  If you want to splurge on organic cotton, you can find organic cloth napkins just for kids too.

So that’s about all I have to share on what to pack a waste-free lunch in. The only other comment I have is to buy in bulk and to make your own.


Sienna Wildfield & her daughter

Sienna Wildfield, Editor & Writer

Sienna is the Founder and Director of Hilltown Families and lives in the Hilltowns with her family, chickens, gardens and cat. She is the Hilltown Families chief editor, writer, & photographer, serves on the Chesterfield Cultural Council, and is a board member of the Hilltown CDC.  She is a life-long activist, published poet, accomplished photographer, and the producer/co-host of the Hilltown Family Variety Show (WXOJ 103.3 FM Northamtpon) with her daughter. [LinkedIn] hilltownfamilies@gmail.com

Links are provided as a courtesy, not an endorsement. [Photo credit: (ccl) Julie Magro]

4 Comments on “5 Solutions to Packing a Waste-Free Lunch

  1. Thanks for the link, Monika! Very cool how the “box” folds out into a placemat – and love that it’s washable. My daughter’s lunch box always comes back with spills and squashed fruit she forgot to put back into its container. Thanks again!

  2. We just purchase lunchsense.com boxes, and we love them SOOO much. BPA free, lead free, the box itself can become the placemat, and you can even throw it into the wash. Crazy, but great!

  3. Old Navy has stainless steel water bottles with cool graphics for $5, and they have very cute little cutlery sets, also $5.

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