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Simple Tips for Packing a Waste-Free Lunch

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Simple Tips for Packing a Waste-Free Lunch

Packing your lunch can be much healthier than eating in a restaurant or the cafeteria, and chances are it will save you money, too. The trick to bringing your lunch to work or school is making sure you’re not packing up a bag full of waste along with that sandwich!

A packed lunch can be incredibly wasteful. Between single use plastic baggies, disposable cutlery, and paper napkins, we toss tons of lunch-related waste every year. Heck, even the bag you bring your food in is wasteful if you toss it in the trash when you’re done. Switching to reusables is a bit pricier up front, but the beauty of reusables is that you’re not buying them over and over. After a month or two of packing your lunch in reusable containers, you’ll hit that break even point, since you won’t have to keep buying disposable containers, utensils, and napkins anymore.

The Bag

A lunch bag doesn’t have to be anything fancy. Any flat-bottomed tote bag will do the trick. I definitely recommend opting for a bag with a flat bottom, because there’s nothing more frustrating than having your containers flip over in your bag. That flat bottom will help things stay put. You have a few options here:

  • Reuseable grocery bag. If you’re like me, you probably have a big stash of reusable grocery bags in your pantry. Just designate a smallish one as a lunch bag.
  • Buy a lunch bag. If you don’t mind spending the cash, there are lots of lunch bags out there. You can get something that’s water resistant or insulated, or just something pretty that makes your lunch feel extra special.
  • Flatten the bottom of a tote. Got a spare tote bag laying around? If you have beginner sewing skills, you can flatten the bottom! Here’s a simple tutorial on how to box the corners of a tote bag.

Now that your bag’s sorted, let’s fill it up with reusables!

Next>> Reusables in your lunch bag

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Read more: Conscious Consumer, Eco-friendly tips, Food, Green, Green Kitchen Tips, Home, Reduce, Recycle & Reuse, , , , ,

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Becky Striepe

Becky Striepe is a freelance writer and vegan crafter living in Atlanta, Georgia. Her life’s mission is to make green crafting and vegan food accessible to everyone! Like this article? You can follow Becky on Twitter or find her on Facebook!


+ add your own
11:44AM PDT on Aug 19, 2015

Thank you Becky.

11:36AM PDT on Jun 22, 2015

Thanks Becky.

6:05AM PST on Feb 12, 2014

thank you

9:29AM PDT on May 19, 2013

Good ideas,thanks for sharing

5:04PM PDT on Mar 20, 2012


4:08AM PST on Feb 11, 2012

When my son was young, he saw me and his dad take our lunch every day, so he wanted to take his too. Every once in a while he would eat at school when they had pizza. He had his own lunchbox, and utensils and a kitchen towel I cut up to make napkins.

10:10PM PST on Feb 9, 2012


1:29AM PST on Feb 2, 2012

I actually have a couple of cloth wraps that are Japanese that are made FOR wrapping your lunch. It's nice, because they're washable, and double as a napkin. I don't usually bring those though.

I do use the plain lunch sacks, and plastic wear, but, I bring the plastic wear home, wash, and reuse. This way, if a lunch burglar ate my lunch, I'm not missing my own silverware from home. I'll just use another reusable plastic set for next time.

5:23AM PST on Feb 1, 2012

Great ideas!

10:53PM PST on Jan 31, 2012

good ideas, thank you.

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