Granola bar wrappers, empty juice boxes, mini yogurt tubs, and ziploc sandwich bags with crumbs of cheese - at most schools, the aftermath of lunch hour isn't pretty.
After eating, your average Canadian student leaves behind 30 kg of lunch waste a year - the same as the weight of an average nine year old!
Luckily the solution is easy. Waste-free lunch - or as they say in Australia, 'nude food' - initiatives are picking around the world. There are plenty of resources out there to help you get started, like this page on how to pack a waste-free lunch.
UPDATE: Maya, a young student, has initiated a plastic-free lunch campaign with Friends of the Earth. Watch her heartwarming video and access lots of resources here.
But don't stop at home. Once you've got your lunches waste-free, encourage others to do the same. Many schools across Canada run waste-free lunch challenges. Check out these examples from the Recycling Council of BC and from the Recycle Alberta.
Both can easily be adapted to schools across Canada and include detailed plans, letters for parents and more.
Waste-free lunches are relatively easy, and can open larger conversations about resource use and energy consumption. Want to take it further? Work with your school cafeteria to institute a 'meatless Monday', or to regularly include vegan options. If your PAC/school council runs fundraising events that involve food, work on coming up with waste-free options (warning: it might not be easy).
We'd love to hear about initiatives at your schools to help , so drop us a line!