Small guide to reduce the use of single use plastic
At five lunches a week, multiplied by the number of weeks of school or work, there is something we can do to reduce our carbon footprint. By reducing (or even eliminating!) the use of single-use plastic in our lunch box, we are doing our part to save the planet. The best kind of recycling is the one you can avoid! A zero-waste lunch box requires little effort: just change your habits! Are you ready to tackle our zero-waste lunch box challenge? Follow the guide.
1) Eliminate soft plastic bags or plastic wraps
Film or soft plastic bags are not recyclable, which is why they are the first items to be removed when converting your lunch box to a zero-waste lunch box. We agree that they are practical because they adapt to the size of what we want to pack. However, there are alternatives that will meet the standards of a zero-waste lunch.
Think of the increasingly popular reusable sandwich or snack bags. Designed mostly in fabric or silicone, they are easy to wash and have the same flexibility as soft plastic bags. And what about the traditional plastic containers that can be bought in the size of a sandwich or a small box of fruit juice. Place the sandwich in a plastic bag or plastic container, the effort is the same, but the second choice is zero waste!
Plastic films have even found their alternatives to zero waste: food packaging made of beeswax or that are vegan. They require very little maintenance: a little soap, cold water and there you have it! Limiting single-use plastic has never been easier.
2) Avoid individual packaging
Once again, the individual packaging is very practical especially when we are in a hurry, but definitely is not supporting any element of a zero-waste lunch. Individual yogurts for example may be recyclable for the most part, but in the famous 3 RV, the notion of reduction is paramount. It’s better to have two or three larger containers of yogurt that we separate ourselves than to have twelve individual servings of the same yogurt. The taste is the same but in addition, it is economical! And when pouring ourselves, you get to customize your perfect yogurt parfait by adding fruit, maple syrup, nuts, honey, etc.
3) Ban single-use plastic
Plastic bags have been banned in Montreal since September 2022, so it’s time to equip yourself with a real reusable and often insulated lunch box. It is the base element for a zero-waste lunch box. Reusable bags are convenient at keeping your lunch at the right temperature and the fabric used for lunch boxes can be reused for several years if well taken care of. Another important element to our zero-waste lunchbox are the utensils and napkins we use : bamboo utensils are always a good option but your home utensils are also great to use. When it comes to napkins, there are always cloth napkins that can be washed instead of paper napkins. And if you appreciate the comfort, you can also include in your zero-waste lunch box a doily in which a pocket has been designed to slide your utensils. That makes it even easier! To make it even easier, some people also include a doily, a pocket designed to slide in your utensils in your lunch box.
4) Prioritize home-cooked dishes
What is at the heart of these zero-waste lunch boxes we are talking about, is of course home made meals. Avoiding frozen or prepared meals not only improves one’s health, but also inevitably reduces waste. When we think of how overpackaged these items are, we find the few dreading additional minutes that a lunch prepared at home can cause feels a lot better knowing its benefits. Not only will the planet thank you, but also your body and your budget.
5) Give up bottled water once and for all
With access to so many different types of reusable water bottles on the market, there’s no reason not to have one and include it in your zero-waste lunch box. Even though Quebecers are increasingly using reusable bottles or cups, there are still too many single-use water bottles consumed in Quebec and there are very few opportunities to use them. In addition, we can’t ignore that bottled water has often been transported for several kilometres, meanwhile tap water is also a perfectly drinkable option… You can always filter it out! Our goal of drinking two liters of water every day is easier when reaching out to a pretty personalized water bottle on your desk !
6) Change for the better!
Everything is a matter of habit, even when it comes to preparing a zero-waste lunch. Getting to a zero-waste lunch is not only more economically profitable, long lasting and helps us avoid purchasing items periodically. This is how we can make a difference every day. Long live zero-waste lunches!
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