Summer is filled with celebrations! And where there’s festivities there’s food. Unfortunately much of this food is wasted. Not to mention all the other materials used, ie plastic table cloths, cutlery, napkins, plates, cups, decorations. But all the summer cookouts and barbeques combined couldn’t add up to the amount of waste produced by schools, especially in the cafeteria.


Every year tons of recyclable materials including food waste, goes into landfills. According to the EPA, “more food reaches landfills and incinerators than any other single material in our everyday trash”. It is estimated that over 530,000 tons of food a year is thrown away in U.S. schools alone. 


Reducing food waste is an important step for fighting hunger, decreasing greenhouse gas emissions, sustainable use of natural resources, and reducing food waste cost. The issue of food waste is a global concern and the amount of annual food waste produced by the U.S. is one of the highest in the world.
– Environmental Research and Education Foundation


This amount of waste has a massive impact on our environment and more importantly our children’s future. But there are ways to take action! Schools that implement waste-free lunch programs reduce waste tremendously. These types of manageable, environment focused actions increase environmental awareness & responsibility among students, teachers, and staff and create real sustainable habits within the school and throughout the community. 


One small but major way we can contribute as Perkster Parents is by packing a sustainable zero waste lunch. A zero waste lunch is basically a meal where none of the food or food related items go to waste or end up in the trash.  By reusing and recycling we can reduce our carbon footprint in schools and help forge a better future for our kids.  Let’s get started!



Your child’s lunchbox is ground zero for combating food waste. Creating a sustainable lunch can be easy and painfree but does require a little effort. Here are the main components for composing a zero waste lunchbox along with a few other tips that will hopefully help you and your kid save the planet.

Choose A Reusable Lunch Container

“Paper bagging it” isn’t the most sustainable option. Although the bag is compostable and recyclable, opting for a container that can be reused is definitely preferable. Some very cool options include bento boxes. Bentos are usually made of stainless steel and can even be recycled. They are great for lunches and do not contain any harmful chemicals or plastics.


Use A Thermos

Juice boxes, pouches like Capri Sun and plastic water bottles are not the sustainable way to consume liquids. Instead opt for a reusable stainless steel thermos or a reusable water bottle.


Pack Utensils

Cutlery is a major polluter. Most disposable cutlery is made from plastic and can take decades to decompose. Use alternatives like this bamboo utensil set from our partners at Earthhero and get 20% off your order!



Choose Reusable Containers & Baggies

We can not stress enough how bad plastic is and now we’ve discovered that there are even micro bits of plastic in the ocean and air. Reusable eco-friendly snack bags made of cloth or beeswax paper are excellent alternatives to the one time use plastic baggies.

Buy In Bulk

Buying items that we often use in bulk then transferring those items into reusable containers helps eliminate packaging waste. Take action and refuse to purchase items that aren’t packaged responsibly. Our kids are our future without question.


Make a Meal Plan

Planning is key. Studies show that most food wasted in schools were fruits and veggies. What’s your kid’s fav fruit or veggie? Pack that! This ensures that your child is less likely to throw it away. 


A good balanced diet, exercise and a healthy, safe learning environment are crucial to a kid’s success. But if there is no planet, there is no future so it’s imperative that we do all we can within our power to change things. Start with your kid’s lunchbox this school year and come check out other cool ideas and fun ways, including redeeming your Perks Points,  you can help save the planet with us here at EnviroPerks. And don’t forget Perks+! Our brand new way to save you green!


J's Article Image (2)Jammica Boone is a writer and content creator for EnviroPerks.