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Your Guide to Waste-Free Back to School

While it's surprisingly easy to start controlling the amount of waste that leaves your home, it can be difficult to control how your children deal with wastage and recycling once they're out of your hands and at school. To make the transition back to school a waste-free one, I've put together this guide to my favourite eco-friendly food storage alternatives.

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Despite our best efforts, it can be difficult to ensure our approaches to recycling, waste and eco-friendly choices are passed onto our children, especially once they head off to school and are out of our care. It seems counter-productive to spend time making your home an eco-friendly place, only to send your kids off to school with non-recyclable or reusable items! Some schools are now jumping on board with the War on Waste, but by making a few small changes to the way you wrap and pack school lunches, you can actually ensure the new school year is a waste-free one, with affordable eco-friendly food storage options available for every school lunchbox need.

How to reduce school lunch waste

For a long time it has seemed almost impossible to find eco-friendly alternatives to traditional disposable lunch bags and containers, such as cling wrap and zip-lock bags. Not to mention that we often just use disposables for the convenience factor! Fortunately, there are now plenty of wonderful recyclable and non-toxic options out there that are much better for the environment and the hip pocket, as they are nice and affordable and designed to last forever, even in the roughness of life in the schoolbag. I suggest opting for a few reliable and versatile storage options to ensure you'll never need to reach for the plastic again, such as a good water bottle, sturdy lunchbox, reusable snack and sandwich bags, and some flexible food wraps.

Best zero-waste school lunchboxes and food storage

Full Circle Ziptuck Reusable Snack Bags
For keeping lunchbox snacks nice and fresh, I love the BPA-free Full Circle Ziptuck Reusable Snack Bags. A great alternative to disposable snack bags, you can easily clean them and use them over and over rather than having to throw them out after one use, plus they're sustainably made and designed to last. They come in a fun Emoji print that the kids will love, as well as a plain Clear version for the big kids. These are leak-proof, air-tight and have a zip lock closure that the kids can easily use. You can even label them with a whiteboard marker! This snack size is perfect for cut fruit or veggies.

Onya Stainless Steel Drink Bottle
Keeping kids hydrated is so important, particularly as they run around and play during summer lunch times, but I hate the idea of sending the kids to school with a disposable plastic water bottle which they'll probably end up throwing in the bin instead of recycling. I love the Onya Stainless Steel Drink Bottle because it is actually made from food-grade stainless steel, which means it is BPA-free, non-leaching, and safe for your kids to reuse over and over again. It's also surprisingly lightweight, so your kids won't complain about having to lug a heavy steel bottle around, plus it features an easy-to-use drinking straw for quick and easy sips.

Full Circle Ziptuck Reusable Lunch Bag - 2 Pack
The Full Circle Ziptuck Reusable Lunch Bag - 2 Pack is also a great option as you get a small snack bag and a larger, flat sandwich-sized bag. The kids will love these as they can choose between the Emoji print or a fun Monster print, and each bag is easy to open and close yet won't spill in their lunchbox or schoolbag thanks to the leak-proof design.

Life Basics Eco Friendly Vegan Food Wraps - Kitchen Pack
For food that needs to be wrapped up, such as wrap breads, I always opt for the Life Basics Eco Friendly Vegan Food Wraps - Kitchen Pack. They're made from Cotton, Tree Gum and Jojoba & Eucalyptus Oils, and they can be washed and reused time and time again. I've found that I can get 12 months worth of use out of mine before they need replacing, and you can just compost them once they've reached the end of their life. They're not just for the lunchboxes either, you can use them to wrap up everything from cheese to fruits to leftover meals, plus you get four different sized wraps in the one pack. I recommend these Vegan wraps in case Beeswax is an allergen at your school.

Eco Meal Prep Lunchbox
Need an eco-friendly option to pack all of these snacks and lunches in? You'll love the Eco Meal Prep Lunchbox. It's made of the highest-quality, food-grade stainless steel so it's safe for the kids and the environment, plus it's non-leaching and odour-resistant so it won't ever affect the flavour of your food. This durable lunchbox is also lightweight and stain-resistant, plus it features easy side clips to keep the lid secure.

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