Here is the real lowdown on why you should pack a LitterLESS Lunch. You will be instantly cooler in the eyes of your family, friends and colleagues;) Kinda kidding, the real reason is because it is better for your health and the health of the environment! This is a quick and dirty post with some links to other articles for those that want to read more (my people-I see you).
What exactly is a LitterLESS Lunch? Lets start easy. A LitterLESS Lunch is a lunch that is packed with no single use packaging or litter. It is making the conscience decision to refuse to use single use plastic & packaging. It means buying in bulk and portioning out into reusable containers. Using reusable napkins, lunch bags and utensils is an important component too. Take a peek at your lunch routine and see where you can create less litter.
Why is packing a LitterLESS Lunch important? I get into this in the points to come but I think it is important to understand just how much waste is created at lunch. My youngest child currently weighs 67 lbs. That is the same weight that an average elementary school child will create this year in lunch litter alone. Yes, you read that right, they will create their weight in litter. Adults create even more with their convenience lunches and takeout containers! Containers and packaging make up 29.7% of municipal solid waste (MSW). Knowing the problem is step 1 to being part of the solution.
How do I get started on this LitterLESS Lunch journey? Our organization strongly believes that starting small is better than not starting at all. To start small I always suggest to stop buying individual plastic wrapped lunch treats like: cheese strings, individual portioned crackers, single portion yogurt, individually packed apple sauces, etc. Instead trying buying in bulk or larger portions and using the containers to replace the litter that these single use packaging items create. Here is a suggestion on how to replace these items: cheese strings-cut up cheese and put in Wean Tub, crackers-buy in a big box and portion into Wean Bowls, yogurt- buy the big tub and portion out into Snack Cubes, apple sauces-great in a Wean Cube or Wean Bowldepending on size. When you are ready, try making your own foods instead of purchasing them. Some of my fave lunch snacks that are easy to make at home and help eliminate litter include: granola bars, apple sauce, crackers, cookies, muffins, & DIY lunchables. Did you ever notice that Wean Green containers are sized and shaped similarly to single packaged products? That wasn't an accident;)
How is packing a LitterLESS Lunch better for the environment? It is better for the environment in more ways than one!
The trash that we are creating is ending up in the oceans & forests and killing our wildlife and eco systems. Turtles are not meant to eat cheese string wrappers and forests can't grow on ground that has been littered with trash.
Plastic can take about 1000 years to decompose Meaning when you throw it 'away' it never actually goes 'away'.
Not all plastic is recyclable! And not all recycling gets recycled. Although you should definitely recycle everything that is recyclable it is even better for the environment (less landfills) if you just choose reusable products.
Need more info on plastics-check out one of my favourite National Geographic blog posts HERE.
How is packing a LitterLESS Lunch better for your health? One of my favourite questions! Plastics are known carcinogens & hormone disruptors. What does that mean? There are chemicals in plastic that are known to cause cancer and that mimic estrogen and create a laundry list of health problems. Want to know a fact that I constantly share with friends & family? BPA does NOT equal good for you or even no leaching chemicals. No BPA just means that they needed to replace the BPA with another chemical. Check out this Mother Jones article for more info on how this all works.
Another health benefit for not using plastic containers and baggies? Endocrine-disrupting chemicals found in plastic can contribute to our obesity rates. I have some more light reading for you-check out this article by University of California to read the science behind plastic making us fat.
Now that I've given you the quick and dirty on all the bad qualities plastic has I think we need talk about Wean Green's plastic lids. These lids are made from polypropylene, #5, commonly referred to as PP. PP plastic is actually one of the safest plastics that is used in manufacturing. Would I buy an entire container and keep my food sitting in it all day? Nope. I They keep the food stored inside, don't leach chemicals into my food and have passed the million tab use test. So until we can design an alternative we will be using these lids.
I hope you all learned something new and found a little extra motivation to create a LitterLESS Lunch! If you are interested in this topic I can talk for days-feel free to shoot me an email with any questions, comments or more info!
Mama Wean Green