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Teach Your Children Well: Make a Reusable Sandwich Wrap

Teach Your Children Well: Make a Reusable Sandwich Wrap

Here is a back to school math problem: How many sandwich bags does a typical American public school class of 20 students throw out during their school years (KindergartenĖ12th grade)? Letís say the homemade lunch/snack consists of a sandwich, a few cookies, some pretzels or chips and a cut-up piece of fruit. Thatís 4 bags a day times 5 days per week (20 bags) for a school year of 40 weeks (800 bags per child a year). Now multiply that by the amount of years the child is in school (13 years), and youíll get 10,400 bags used per school child. Go on and multiply that by a class of 20 students and each class would throw out 208,000 bags during their schooling. Letís stop here before we storm the lunchrooms.

Even if youíve glazed over the math problem, here are the facts: It has been estimated that the average American school kid also generates 67 pounds of discarded school lunch packaging waste per year. That is more than 18,000 pounds yearly for the average-sized elementary school. While some plastic can be recycled or reused, most sandwich and snack baggies cannot. Not only do these single-use bags add to landfill waste, they create havoc on the eco-systems and hence, the health of wildlife.

Want to bag the single-use bag and show kids how they can help the environment? A DIY sandwich bag alternative is an everyday green and fun lesson to teach kids. Best of all, it reaches them right in their lunchbox (or bag). Let kids discover for themselves how small changes can make huge impacts.

Craft author, Betz White shares her reusable sandwich wrap template with step-by-step instructions from her book, Sewing Green here. The directions and template are fabulous, but she suggests using a material called, PUL. This is a durable, water-repellant polyurethane laminated fabric. It is the type of fabric often used to make diaper covers. I chose to make my sandwich wraps out of cotton fabric scraps, as I would not want the non-renewable, petroleum-based PUL fabric cozying up to my kidís food (or bottom). An alternative may be to line the inside of the PUL fabric with cotton. Another suggestion would be to upcycle a stray wipeable or washable placemat. Any other thoughts on what materials to use that would be safe and green?

For more green lunch ideas check out this Care2 article.


Ronnie Citron-Fink lives in New York with her husband, two children (when they come home to the nest), two dogs and a cat. Ronnie is a teacher and a writer. She has been a contributing writer for Family Fun magazine. She currently writes articles about education and home design. Her writings are in four books including Family Fun Home and Some Delights of the Hudson Valley.†

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Ronnie Citron-Fink

Ronnie Citron-Fink is a writer, editor and educator. She has written hundreds of articles about sustainable living, the environment, design, and family life for websites, books and magazines. Ronnie is the creator of Econesting, and the managing editor of Moms Clean Air Force. Ronnie was named one of the Top Ten Living Green Experts by Yahoo. Ronnie lives in New York with her family.


+ add your own
4:06AM PDT on May 7, 2013

Good idea,thanks for sharing

3:23AM PDT on Apr 10, 2013


6:51AM PST on Mar 6, 2013

My youngest is heading to preschool soon; we're going to have to make up a few of these for his lunchbox. (Maybe the older ones will use them too, though they like getting school lunch: they don't have to do any prep work, lol)

4:43AM PST on Feb 21, 2013

Very good.

11:33AM PDT on Oct 18, 2012

The link that sent me here reads "Teach Your Children Well: Make a Reusable Sandwich." >.

7:11PM PST on Dec 10, 2011

bamboo tiered baskets?
bulky to tote around though...

10:15AM PDT on Sep 7, 2011

i must ask about the laundry though that it takes to always be washing these cause i'd assume you'd need to wash them daily in order to prevent mold and contamination

1:14AM PDT on Aug 11, 2011

Thanks for the great info.

6:06PM PDT on Jul 9, 2011

but how eco-friendly is all the extra laundering?

11:03PM PDT on Oct 6, 2010


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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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