Sunday, September 28, 2008

Packing Lunch a Little Greener

Many of us are finding new ways to save, recycle, and re-use. Here's a few things I've been doing when I pack my lunch. None of them are earth-shattering, but little things that take little time and reduce waste:

1. Instead of buying yogurt in the little containers, we buy it in big tubs like cottage cheese. It's a lot cheaper, and less plastic goes into the environment.

2. To pack the yogurt for my lunch, I'm using 1/2 pint canning jars instead of plastic containers. They wash up, I have plenty of them, and they're not plastic. Other recycled jars would work too. This isn't a good idea for kids lunches, of course, but most of us adults can manage to carry a glass jar without breaking it (note that I said most!)

3. Ditto for cottage cheese or other liquid-type stuff for lunch.

4. I have always liked wax paper sandwich bags but I have not been able to find any for years. I finally searched online and found that at Webstaurant. com you can buy them 1000 at a time! They're cheap too (15.49/1000)--until you add shipping (12.28). But even with shipping I think they are a little cheaper than plastic sandwich bags.

There are two kinds available, "dry" and "wet." That refers to what you plan to pack in them, not the bags themselves! I opted for the "wet" bags because you never know when a sandwich will leak.

1000 bags should last me a long, long time. Once a bag has been used, it can go in recycling. Cool.

5. Paper lunch bags are a given, of course. And sometimes they can be re-used for several days. I sometimes use the paper bags, but mostly I use a canvas tote bag these days--it washes and can be re-used over and over.

6. I make my morning coffee and take it with me. That saves a stop to buy coffee and one more throwaway cup in the environment. If you don't have time to make coffee, bring your own cup and fill it up instead.

What simple things are you doing to reduce the amount of waste your family creates? I'd love to hear some more ideas.


Jackie in VA said...

You have a typo in your price for the wax paper sandwich bags! I did a double take when you said they are cheap at $115.49. I've always liked those little bags over the plastic ones too...glad to know they're available to buy somewhere.

City Mouse said...

I adore those little wax bags - I still see them used here and there. It's nice to see they are still around.

Granny Sue said...

OOPS! Definitely have to fix the typo! Thanks for letting me know.

The only place I've been able to find them is online, Mouse. Perhaps in a more populated area they're still in the stores, but not here.

Mary Garrett said...

I carry the plastic coffee go cups with lids -- because I hate the taste of styrofoam cups and the waste. . .and lids because I'm prone to spilling. I know plastic is under suspicion now, but it is lighter to haul around and less likely to break.
I have a wooden rack of drying plastic bags after washing for reuse.
Sometimes, when feeling very ambitious, I make my own yogurt.
New cleaning products from Better Life are very eco-friendly

Anonymous said...

I reuse the plastic tubs that my luncheon meat comes in. They last about 2 months of going to and from work til they finally fall apart. I carry 'em in my lunch bucket that has been in constant use since 2002. It has screws for hinges, as the hinges exited stage left several years ago. I reuse plastic grocery store bags to carry my clean post shower/ride home clothes, but the dirty laundry that goes in 'em ruins them for any return trips. So they go in the can beside the washer/dryer to be reused for cat pan cleanouts. After serving litter pan duty they are usually pitched. Can't figure a use past that...


Anonymous said...

Okay! I am so glad to see how many ways people are using to reduce the amount of trash in the landfills. Jay & I just started composting our kitchen scraps - we never liked the compost bucket in the kitchen (always stunk and was yucky!) so now we freeze the scraps and then truck them out to the compost bin when the bag is full. Course, the bag in the freezer is marked DO NOT EAT! :)

Kathy said...

Great Ideas! I have a post on my blog titled Energy Saving Tips, some of them I do and some I NEED to do.

One of these days I'll get it added to my side bar where I have the rest of my tips listed.

Granny Sue said...

A lot of good ideas here. Theresa, I like the idea of freezing garbage til you can get it to the compost pile. We give most of ours to the chickens, but when we didn't have the hens I hated tossing it in the trash.

I'll have to check that post, Kathy. I'm always looking for new ways to save.

earth heart said...

I use those wax bags, too. I like them so much better than plastic. I'm anti-plastic as well, but larger containers are nice to take along to the store if you're purchasing individual baked goods, bagels, or rolls, eliminating the need for bags or boxes.

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