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How Did Your Lunch Get to Work Today?

IN THE January 29 ISSUE

FROM THE 2011 Articles,
andFood Fun,
andGoing Green,
andHelping Hands,
andReedley News
SECTIONS

by Dewi L. Faulkner

It’s amazing to think that “green” was once just another ho-hum color on the crayon box. These days it’s impossible to even hear the word without immediate images of recycling, composting, and carbon tax credits floating across your periphery. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Often when we contemplate how to live a greener lifestyle, we tend to fret over the “big picture” items: How can I drive less? Should I plant a garden? Should I buy the bottled water? Am I recycling correctly? The truth is, there are very small steps we all can take in order to help Mother Nature stay lean, mean, and green!

One of the environmental “baby steps” that has an enormous impact on our planet is adopting a no-waste lunch for yourself and your family. When it comes to greener living, we often contemplate how we get to work or school, but do you ever wonder about the environmental impact of how your lunch is traveling?

Consider these sobering statistics: According to the EPA, over 380 billion plastic bags, sacks, and wraps are consumed in the U.S. each year. Only 10 to 15 percent of paper bags and 1 to 3 percent of plastic bags are recycled. Californians throw away 294,000,000 pounds of plastic bags ever year, or 147,000 tons. That equates to enough waste to circle our entire planet over 250 times.

Adopting a no-waste lunch may seem daunting at first, but after a minor initial investment and a bit of practice, you’ll wonder why you ever messed with those bothersome little baggies in the first place! And if cost is a concern consider the following: when you invest in reusable lunch gear you make that investment exactly once. Whereas disposable baggies are exactly that: disposable.

Paper bags and plastic baggies represent a recurring cost that never goes away. Within a few months your new lunch gear will pay for itself! Remember, a lunch full of plastic baggies and processed food in individualized packages doesn’t come cheap. All that shiny, cartoon-covered foil wrapping surrounding your child’s cookies or crackers? You’re paying for it. The average child’s disposable lunch costs about $4.02 per day, whereas the average waste-free lunch costs about $2.65 per day. This represents a savings of over $240 per child per year!

Waste-free lunches shouldn’t be complicated. All you really need is a reusable lunch sack, a reusable beverage container, and a few small reusable plastic or stainless steel food containers. That’s all there is to it! If you’re feeling plucky, a bamboo spork can add to the fun, and what about a brightly colored handkerchief for a napkin? If you’re looking to purchase all your items at once, you can’t go wrong with a bento box lunch set–this choice is especially popular with the kids.

Now that I’ve convinced you, are you ready to shop? Many grocery stores are starting to offer a small selection of reusable lunch containers. Big box stores such as Target, Wal-Mart, and Costco may also have an appealing array of options. And like so many other things nowadays, an unbeatable array of reusable lunch items can be found online. Be sure to check out the web boutique for the best selection of affordable, durable, and stylish reusable lunch gear!

Sources: Californians Against Waste

Dewi L. Faulkner is a freelance writer & editor living in Palo Alto, California, but her heart will always remain true to the San Joaquin Valley, where she grew up. She still spends a lot of time in the Valley, especially the Reedley area, visiting her parents. You can see more of Dewi’s work at her business website.

Another possibility for lunch would be to enjoy one of Reedley Restaurant, Valentino’s specials listed on their Facebook page. Check out this special coupon for KRL’s readers!

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