A sustainable life is all about little choices: the foods you eat, the electricity you use, and even the green friendly products you buy for lunches. If you’re a parent, you probably have to pack a number of lunches every morning. It can quickly become a routine, and if you have a lot of kids, saving money becomes the highest priority. The good news is, most environmentally friendly choices are economically friendly too, at least in the long run. The following tips may seem like small decisions, but they have a real effect on reducing waste on the earth, which will ensure your children have a bright, green future.
Easily the biggest and easiest impact you can have on the earth is by switching to reusable green friendly products. Two paper bags a day seem like nothing, but when they’re compounded with two paper bags coming out of every American household, the waste becomes huge. For every ton of non-recycled paper, seventeen trees must be cut down—and many, many tons a day go into the creation of paper lunch bags. Instead, buy a reusable lunchbox, and avoid franchised products with trendy cartoons. They may be popular today, but their popularity will change in a year; something simple and neutral can get reused over a much longer period.
The items you put in the lunches matter too. A simple Hershey’s kiss can be a nice treat, but more than 133 square miles of foil are used every day for their production. Bottled water, too, is a healthy alternative to soda, but Americans throw away 2.5 million bottles every hour. Using a thermos and buying treats that don’t create so much waste can dramatically reduce the amount of plastics manufactured and aluminum extracted from the earth. Bottling your own tap saves a bundle, too.
Lastly, whenever possible, encourage your children to store leftover food debris (apple cores and banana peels) in the lunchbox to carry home. It’s not a money saving technique, but it’s an earth-friendly one. When thrown in a landfill, food debris only decomposes 25% over the first 15 years; adding it to a compost pile or vermiculture box in your backyard, though, will help nourish your lawn and aid the rate of decomposition.