Don’t waste away at lunchtime

If you're looking to make your lifestyle a bit more sustainable, then your child's lunchbox is a great place to start.

Think about it. Every day it's filled with food items wrapped in plastic wrap, tin foil and plastic bags, and every day this is thrown away, headed for landfill or as litter which pollutes the natural environment.

In Australia in 2010-11, a total of 1,433,046 tonnes of plastics were consumed in Australia, with only 20 per cent of this ending up as recycled.

Australians have previously used up to 6 billion plastic bags a year, and are the second highest producers of waste per person in the world, placing after the US.

In 2009 South Australia took the milestone step of banning single-use supermarket style plastic bags in order to try and counter this significant wastage problem.

Why are school lunches a problem?

Food related waste makes up a large proportion of what heads to landfill. What seems like a small amount of lunchbox rubbish adds up quickly.

One child can discard around 30kg of waste from their lunch every year – imagine that multiplied over and over and piled up in a landfill.

What's the solution?

Try and make your child's lunchbox waste free. Get rid of as much single-use plastic as possible. There are plenty of alternative options, such as reusable sandwich wraps which can store more than just sandwiches – they'll store almost anything you need them to!

You can also switch to different kinds of food. Many healthier options actually come with little to no packaging, for example fruit is a waste free, healthy and easy option.

For trickier foods such as salad or leftovers, invest in a reusable container that can be washed and used time and time again. 

Furthermore, don't pack your child's lunch in a single-use plastic bag – use a reusable bag, box or container.