I’ve spent the past few years perfecting my almost waste free lunch. I originally started out small, like reusing plastic silverware and substituting wax paper bags for plastic. But once I got going, I realized how easy it was to reduce my waste and made it my goal to be trash free.
What’s in my lunch bag:
1. Glass containers: I pack everything from sandwiches to crackers in containers. Although they take up a bit more room in my bag, with a quick wash they are all ready to go for the next day. My favorite containers are actually old jam jars or a solid canning jar because they are sturdy (read: hard to break) and can go from the freezer to the microwave without any problems.
2. Metal silverware: Confession, I bought all of my silverware on eBay and Craigslist, so I don’t have to worry about a spoon or two being misplaced. Most likely because there is no pressure, I haven’t lost one yet.
3. Cloth napkin: It’s great to have something to toss over a nice dress when I’m eating and I save a paper napkin every time I bring it. I also use it to microwave my food – I lay it across the top to keep splatters down and hold it underneath to protect my hands once it’s hot.
4. Tea cup: I keep a tea cup, spoon, and sugar from home in a container (which I am not using this week) in my desk at work. By doing so I save a paper cup, wooden stirrer, and a sugar packet every day. I wash it every night before I go home so it’s all set for the next morning. I swear your hot beverage tastes better in your favorite cup.
5. Glass water bottle: My water bottle goes with me everywhere. I chose glass because it’s highly recyclable, easy to clean, and tasteless (and let’s face it, it’s aesthetically pleasing too).
What you can’t see:
Even though the only things I throw away at work are the stickers from my fruit, I say my lunch is almost waste free because what I put into my containers isn’t completely waste free, yet. I make a lot of foods from scratch (my favorites are homemade granola and energy bars, yum!), and what I have to buy (flour, grains, pasta, etc.) I try to buy in bulk bins. For what I can’t get in bulk, I look for recyclable or compostable containers. I am also able to recycle most of my plastic bags through TerraCycle, like the bags from my oats. I’m working towards the ultimate goal of being completely zero waste like Béa Johnson.
What are you doing to reduce your waste?