How to Pack a No Waste Lunch

Angie Timmons
Hennepin County Environmental Services

How many lunch bags, sandwich bags, juice boxes and dessert packages did you throw away this year? All that packaging adds up. In fact, 30 percent of our trash is made up of packaging. A simple way to cut back on that waste is to pack a “no-waste lunch.”

Here is what you need to get started:

  •  Reusable bag or box
  •  Reusable bottle
  •  Reusable containers
  •  Cloth napkin

Start by buying food items in bulk then put them in reusable containers to carry to school or to work. If you have enough individual containers, you can fill a whole week’s worth of snacks at one time and then take one container as you pack each day’s lunch. Put those containers in a reusable lunch box or bag. Add cloth napkins and reusable utensils. It is also a good idea to put your last name or initials on the containers, in case you forget your lunch at work.

Packing a no waste lunch creates less waste and saves money. By buying in bulk and packing your food in reusables, you can save anywhere from 25 to 50 percent on cost compared to single-serving packages.

Multi-Packaged Lunch Food Costs vs Bulk Packaged Food

By Julia Earl

Preventing Harm Minnesota

When grocery shopping, avoid ‘multi-packs’of your favorite products in favor of bulk items. The extra packaging that comes with multi-packs costs you money—up to three times as much as bulk items—and creates excess waste. Packaging accounts for 30 percent of trash by volume! What goes in the trash is burned at the incinerator and becomes air pollution or is put in a landfill.

Savings per week

1 Week Supply of Multi- Packaged Lunch Food = $64.92

1 Week Supply of Bulk- Packaged Lunch Food = $40.45

SAVE per WEEK = $24.47

Savings per month

1 Month Supply of Multi- Packaged Lunch Food = $259.64

1 Month Supply of Bulk- Packaged Food Costs = $161.33

SAVE per MONTH = $98.31

Save Money – Reduce Waste Help the Planet Create Less Trash!

No Waste Lunch

Our Sponsors