Waste Reduction

Pack a Waste-Free Lunch

A waste-free lunch means the only thing left to dispose of when you are finished eating besides fruit cores, peels and pits. The best way to reduce waste is to consciously avoid creating it in the first place.

5 Ways to Pack a Waste-Free Lunch

Do Use

  • Cloth Napkin to Wash and Reuse
  • Reusable Carrier (Cloth Bag, Lunch Box)
  • Reusable Containers
  • Silverware to Wash and Reuse
  • Thermos for Drinks

Do Not Use

  • 1-Time Use Disposable Bags
  • 1-Time Use Plastic Utensils
  • Paper Napkins
  • Plastic Wrap, Foil, or Styrofoam
  • Single-Use Cartons or Cans

Lunch Waste Facts

  • Aluminum Foil: 600,000 tons of aluminum foil is produced every year in the U.S. A large amount of electricity is used to manufacture foil.
  • Aluminum and Tin Cans: More than half of the 100 billion cans sold in the U.S. last year were landfilled or incinerated.
  • Banana and Orange Peels: As food decomposes in a landfill, it generates harmful greenhouse gases (GHGs) such as methane (try composting or vermiculture).
  • Disposable Beverage Containers and Utensils: Every year, Americans throw away enough paper and plastic cups, forks and spoons to circle the equator 300 times.
  • Juice Boxes: Inorganic waste may take hundreds of years to decompose, or may not decompose at all.
  • Paper Bags and Napkins: Approximately 17 trees are cut down for every ton of non-recycled paper produced.
  • Styrofoam: Styrofoam is very difficult to recycle. The best way to protect the environment is to avoid using it.

Source: Global Stewards

Green Shopping

Did you know that your shopping choices affect the environment? Everything you buy affects the Earth, but some choices have a lesser impact. Educating yourself about the products you buy can empower you to make a difference in protecting the planet. It's called "green purchasing," and it's easy to do. Just follow some of the easy steps listed below:

  • Buy Recycled: Items made from paper and plastic are often made from recycled materials. You can also buy automotive parts, motor oil, and tires made from recycled products. Also look out for household furnishings and gardening tools made from recycled materials.
  • Buy in Bulk or Multi-Packs: Buying more items at once reduces packaging waste. You can also buy items with packaging that can be reused or recycled.
  • Buy Used: You can find authentic retro clothes, accessories, and other items at your local thrift store.
  • Buy Energy-Efficient Items: Look for the Energy Star logo when buying electronics such as TVs, CD players, DVD players, and computers. Energy Star is a voluntary labeling program designed to identify and promote energy-efficient products to reduce GHGs. Also, don't forget to check for gas-efficiency when purchasing a new vehicle.
  • Combine Bags: When you're at the mall, don't get a new shopping bag for every item. Combine bags or put them in your backpack. Don't forget to hold onto the receipt!
  • Trade With Friends: Instead of buying brand new products, swap with friends and family.

Source: United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)