When I went to order some bamboo utensils from UKonserve (click here for link), I read some statistics on their website that really shocked me. Each day I sit with my students at lunch time. I am amazed by the amount of food and trash waste that is mindlessly thrown away every day but I had no idea of just how much was being discarded.
*Children's lunches create 3.5 billion pounds of garbage each year
*18,000 lbs of trash is generated each year from one-average sized elementary school
*It takes a 15 year old tree to produce 700 brown paper bags
*The average child generates 67 lbs of lunchtime trash each year
*Trash is often mistaken for food and eaten by sea life
*The US has 6% of the population and produces half of the world's garbage
*38 billion plastic water bottles end up in the landfill each year
*Plastic water bottles take 700 years before they start to decompose
What can we do about this? There are some very simple steps to take that would drastically lower this statistic and save you money.
1) Use a reusable lunch bag or box VS.paper bags
2) Use cloth napkins VS paper napkins
3) Use a thermos, lunch bot, or some type of reusable container VS. foil or ziploc bags BECAUSE: The Center of Ecoliteracy reported that "One average elementary school student eating homemade lunches is estimated to generate between 45-90 lbs of ziplock bags, foil pouches and other packaging waste each year, roughly equivalent to the body weight of a third to sixth grader".
4) Make food from scratch and/or from the bulk section VS. processed food in prepackaged, single serving bags
5) Reusable utensils VS plastic utensils
6) Use stainless steal water bottle VS juice boxes or disposable plastic water bottle