Try the waste-free lunchbox challenge

Waste-free pack-up ANL-141209-150759001
Waste-free pack-up ANL-141209-150759001
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THINK GREEN: By South Holland District Council’s waste and recycling officer Laura Simpkins

With the children heading back to school, maybe it’s time to set an eco goal for the year ahead?

Why not challenge yourself or your children to make a waste-free lunch? This means making as little rubbish as possible from a lunch box.

The reason behind waste-free lunches is not only to reduce the amount of packaging waste, it is also to reduce food waste.

Across the UK it is estimated that 24 million slices of bread are thrown out each day along with 1.9 million slices of ham! What a lot of sandwiches that could’ve made. Please remember not to overfill lunch boxes – the worst thing to do is to create more rubbish!

Things that work well in waste-free lunches are food or drink items that can be packed into reusable containers. You can buy various shaped containers fairly cheaply, which will reduce your spend on wrapping materials.

For example, instead of wrapping pieces of cake in foil, use a reusable container. Foil and cling film are not good things for a waste-free lunch even though they can be recycled as not producing it in the first place is even better.

It is also a good idea to refill a drinks bottle each day. This can save money too as buying bigger bottles of squash saves a lot of money compared to smaller, individual cartons.

Buying in bulk is great as it avoids excess packaging. Choose items that are not individually wrapped and pack them into a reusable container.

Another great tip is to stop using disposable cutlery. Instead, invest in some that can be used again and again.

This will reduce the amount of waste you throw away and will also save you money.

If you are a fan of fruit and vegetables remember that you can compost the peelings.

If you have a compost heap at home remember to take your fruit peelings home with you.

You could get your friends, work colleagues or children’s classmates involved in the challenge too to see who can come up with the best waste-free lunch.

As always, if you try any of our tips out at home please send us a picture to recycling@shol land.gov.uk

It’s a small change to your daily routine that has the potential to save you money, so please take part in the waste-free lunch challenge.

Another handy food waste tip comes from Tony Crofts, a driver/loader in the waste and recycling team. If you buy too much fruit, why not freeze some? It can then be blitzed up in a food processor with a little milk or water to make a tasty smoothie.