Welcome to Green Boot Camp

Welcome to Green Boot Camp blog, a 52-week program to help you become a greener you in 2008. This is the companion blog to The Lean Green Family (formerly Suddenly Frugal).

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Week Sixteen--Packing Green Lunches

The school year may be winding down for many students, but my kids still have a little less than two months to go. However, come summer, I don't get a break from packing lunches, because my children attend day camp that does not provide lunch. Others may pack lunch, not for their kids, but for themselves at the office, as a way of saving money. I mean, $5 for lunch doesn't sound like a lot when you look at that number on its own, but multiple it by five days a week ($25) and then 52 weeks ($1,300), and you're looking at some significant dough.

Regardless of the person you're packing lunch for, there are ways you can green your brown bag lunch. And for the next few weeks on Green Boot Camp, I will be discussing ways you can green your various food-related behaviors.

As far as lunch goes, the best way to green a brown-bag lunch habit is to get rid of the brown bag all together. Instead, get a reusable lunch box or insulated bag. These will likely last your for years and cut down on how much your throw out when you dispose of that brown bag.

Another way to adopt these greener lunch methods is to begin weaning yourself from baggies and aluminum foil, and start investing in reusable containers for all of your lunch goodies. I just went to a Tupperware party and purchased two Sandwich Keeper containers. These are reusable plastic boxes for keeping sandwiches fresh, and once I get my order, I won't need to wrap my girls' sandwiches in aluminum foil anymore (though my middle schooler's cafeteria has recycling bins where she's been tossing the used aluminum foil. I think that's allowed).

I have other reusable containers that are in daily rotation for packed lunches, from those little Glad Ware 1/2 cup containers for holding crackers or homemade pudding to a Nalgene screw-top canister in which I place cut-up oranges or other kinds of fruit.

Speaking of Nalgene, after getting in the habit of using bottled water in my daughters' lunches, I finally switched over to reusable Nalgene bottles, which I loved. They didn't leak, they came in fun colors, and my daughters never complained about using them. Then the BPA news broke, and now I need to find a replacement so that I don't have to go back to bottled water. Bottom line: another great way to green your packed lunch is to bring a drink in a reusable container.

If you work in an office with a kitchen area, make the effort to bring in reusable plates, utensils and coffee mugs--even cloth napkins, as long as you don't mind having to take them home to launder. By having these items around and available, you can help your coworkers and yourself succeed in ditching disposables at meal and break time.


Daisy said...

I like my sandwich keeper. It was an impulse buy at the grocery store, but I've used it soooo many times it's paid for itself -- in ziploc bags, if that makes sense.

Jess+4boys said...

I love your blog(s) and think you've got fabulous suggestions and I'm looking forward to your suggestions on food in the upcoming weeks. A product I use - and love - for my kids at school is the wrap-n-mat (www.wrap-n-mat.com). It is a foldable sandwich container and also can be used as a place mat which is great for lunch tables that might not be clean or cleaned with non-kid friendly products.

The Q Family said...

I would love to hear what you find for the bottle of water solution. I have the same problem with reusable that it leaks. So now I have to go back to water bottle until I can find a replacement.

I have heard about SIGG. What is your thought on that?

BTW, I love your blog and I'm glad I find you. :) You will be on my 'Blogs I read' now. :)

Leah Ingram said...

I'm still trying to track down a SIGG bottle and one from Kleen Kanteen so I can review them. I'll keep you posted. Thanks for the compliment.