How to Pack a Waste-Free Lunch

Every year, kids’ lunches generate approximately 18,000 pounds per elementary school of packaging that ends up in local landfills. Switching to a waste-free lunch reduces the garbage clogging up landfills while also saving you money and encouraging healthy lunch choices. If every elementary school-age child’s parents swapped packaged goods for fresh and switched from disposable utensils, containers and bags to reusable varieties, it’s estimated that 1.2 billion pounds of lunchtime waste would be eliminated from landfills. Pottery Barn Kids makes it easy to pack a waste-free lunch with a variety of reusable totes, containers, bottles and more. Make it even more fun for kids by personalizing their reusable lunch bags and letting them pick out their favorite colors and designs.

How to Pack a Waste-Free Lunch

Buy in bulk, buy fresh

Before you worry about how to pack a waste-free lunch, think about what you’re going to pack. Buy favorite snack foods in bulk to save money and eliminate much of the excess packaging that single-serve snacks use. Better yet, switch to fresh ingredients with minimal sodium and sugar to infuse your lunch with nutritious ingredients that come with minimal packaging. Buy fresh fruits and vegetables, wash them and cut them into kid-friendly, bite-sized pieces. Store them in one of our larger reusable storage containers, and then pack them in lunch containers for on-the-go meals and snacks.

Start small

Does a total overhaul feel overwhelming? Make gradual changes to switch from a traditional lunch with packaged, disposable goods to a waste-free lunch that relies on reusable or recyclable items and fresh foods. Pottery Barn Kids carries a variety of reusable lunch items specially designed with children in mind. Our reusable bottles, totes and containers fit neatly together to help keep kids’ backpacks organized. Buy one element at a time until you’ve completed the switch from disposable to waste-free.

Banish boxes

The packaging used for juice boxes and pouches goes right to the landfill, adding to the already overflowing pile. Save money by buying large, recyclable containers of your favorite beverages and then portioning them out into one of our water bottles. We craft eco-friendly bottles from food-grade stainless-steel, and they are both lead- and BPA-free, so you can feel good about using them for the entire family. Large openings make it easy to add an ice cube or two and integrated vacuum-valve stoppers help prevent messy leaks. The fun, colorful prints and designs let your little one express their own unique style.

Brown bags no more

Complete the change by swapping your brown bags for reusable lunch bags. After all, even if you switch to buying in bulk and using reusable containers in place of sandwich bags, that paper bag still generates trash. Switch to our eco-friendly, reusable lunch totes to keep food fresh while reducing lunch waste. From rainbows and butterflies to sharks and monsters, our lunch bags come in a range of kid-friendly colors and designs to make lunchtime fun.

Our classic lunch totes feature a durable 600-denier polyester shell and a PEVA lining on the inside. This food-safe, eco-friendly material is made without plasticizers or chlorine, so you have less toxins to worry about. Zippered pockets neatly hold reusable utensils and the interior is perfectly sized to fit our food storage containers.