Q: What’s stinky, slimy and weighs 18,000 pounds?
A: The annual lunch waste from one “average” school in the US!

Q: What’s the size, in cubic feet, of three football fields?
A: The 3.5 billion pound piles of waste generated by all US schools in an average year!

and finally…

Q: How many paper bags can you get from one 15 year-old tree?
A: About 700 single use paper bags can be made from one tree. That’s enough bags for about three classrooms full of elementary school children for a year!

Does this information make you want to take action? If so, ask your children to become Green Ambassadors! They can teach kids about how to waste less at lunchtime and lead the conversations at their schools!

Here’s a list of suggestions for parents, from our friends at ILunchBox.com, a great parenting site.

  1. Use a cloth napkin. The National Resource Defense Council states that “If every household in the United States replaced just one package of virgin fiber napkins (250 count) with 100% recycled ones, we could save 1 million trees.” With cloth napkins we save the energy needed to recycle the paper ones!
  2. Bring washable silverware. This is really easy. You can purchase reusable, hygienic bamboo utensils or simply send utensils from home.
  3. Find re-useable containers, buy in bulk and divide. Avoid single serving products if you can.
  4. Use a stainless steel water bottle. BPAs leach into drinking water from plastic bottles that heat up (i.e., stay in a backpack during soccer practice). The safer alternatives are the stainless steel bottles, which come in a bunch of sizes.
  5. One small ice pack is essential for food safety. They’re reusable for years if you can keep your children from losing them!
  6. Reusable, insulated and washable lunch bags that are certified lead-free are a must. Wash frequently to avoid the “ick” that comes from drippy things and accumulated moisture.
For more information about how to reduce waste in your schools check out WasteFreeLunches.org. If you have a great idea for packing a “greener” lunch, or a product that you’d like us to carry share…do so here.

And a final piece of Back-to-School humor…

“Home computers are being called upon to perform many new functions, including the consumption of homework formerly eaten by the dog!” Doug Larson

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