Preparing Litter-less Lunches for going Back to School



According to the Recycling Council of Ontario, the average school student produces about 30 pounds of lunch waste each year. That is about 900 pounds of lunch waste per classroom.… that’s a lot of waste being sent to the landfill. The solution? Pack a litter-less lunch!


What is a Litter-less Lunch?

A litter-less lunch is packed using reusable containers and utensils rather than disposable bags, disposable containers or single- serving items. Uneaten food is saved for later or taken home. Food scraps, like banana peels are composted. The goal is that at the end of lunch, there is no litter.


How to prepare a litter-less lunch?

A litter less lunch takes some planning and setting up a few easy new habits. The first steps are to buy a re-usable lunch bag or box, reusable containers and a stainless steel drink container. Avoid buying disposable bags, plastic water bottles or juice boxes… they are very wasteful and costly! Here are some tips for preparing a litter-less lunch:

  1. Give your children enough for lunch – but not too much, so there aren’t a lot of left-overs
  2. Encourage your children to bring left over food home
  3. Instead of buying pre-packaged lunches, cook extra dinner for tomorrow’s lunches.
  4. Compost uneaten food to reduce waste to landfill.
  5. Look for alternatives to packaged snacks, such as home-made yoghurt, home-made Jello, cut up veggies or popcorn. Alternatively, you can purchase large containers of yogurt, cottage cheese or pudding and divide into reusable containers in lunch-size portions
  6. Pack sandwiches and snacks in reusable sandwich containers



If you want to stick to litter-less lunches, you’re going to need to get your children to embrace it and the best is by seeing you do it as well. Once they see you following the plan, they’re going to want to as well. Involve your family in the process. Help them understand why litter-less lunches are better for you and the environment.

Bon appétit!


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About the Author
Prabhjit K. Banga

Prabh’s environmental journey began in 1992 when she discovered a passion for green living after watching the cartoon movie, Ferngully: The Last Rainforest. Since then she has been an avid environmentalist for over 20 years, cultivating sustainability within her own personal and professional life. She went on to complete her Master in Resource and Environmental Management from Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia and undergraduate degree in Environmental Studies from McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario. During her Master’s degree, Prabh worked on policy oriented research on sustainability reporting frameworks, community based social marketing, resource efficiency and waste management practices. Prabh is currently the Manager of Strategy Development & Corporate Sustainability at Toronto Pearson Airport. Prabh leads the development and delivery of the airport’s sustainability strategy. Prabh enjoys reading and writing about the environment and loves to share her tips and passion for living sustainably.

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