Challengicious Monday: Pack a Waste-Free Lunch

>> Monday, March 22, 2010

Mondays are challengicious at The Conscious Shopper. Here's your final trash-related challenge:

Pack a Waste-Free Lunch

In probably the most unappetizing picture I've ever taken, I present to you: My Son's Lunch. The cheetah bag came from Subway. The plastic containers hold a quesadilla, carrot sticks with ranch dip (in a repurposed tiny jelly jar from a holiday gift basket), and applesauce. The green container once held playdough but now has goldfish crackers.

To complete this challenge, you can...

  • Pack waste-free snacks. Gradually inch your way toward waste free meals by starting with your snacks. Forget individually packaged snacks and disposable baggies; gather all of your reusable food containers and pack them yourself. My favorite method involves some old playdough containers: I'll buy a big box of goldfish crackers, pour the crackers into the containers at the beginning of the week, and put them in a basket for easy access for my kids.
  • Pack a waste-free lunch. Once you've got your snacks down, you're ready to move on to a bigger meal. Any collection of mismatched food containers will work (from your cupboards, restaurant take-out, or thrift stores), or you can commit to a nice reusable lunchbox like the PlanetBox I reviewed two weeks ago. For more options, check out and Life Without Plastic.
  • Eat out without waste. Are you already a pro at packing waste-free meals? Graduate to the next level by eating out without producing waste. Bring your own straws, utensils, cloth napkins, water bottles, and even to-go containers. Check out the TakeOutWithOut campaign for more ideas, and stay-tuned later this week for the chance to win a gift certificate to Glass Dharma reusable glass straws.
I'm at Jogging Stride right now and working up the courage to be a Marathon Runner. The problem is that we don't eat out very often, so I have to remember to bring my take out containers.

Over at The Green Phone Booth this week, I'll be posting some ideas for waste-free lunches and to-go kits, so stay tuned!

This is also the last of our trash challenges, so I'll be keeping track of my trash again and posting more pictures on the "Go Green without Going Broke" group on Facebook. Who wants to dig in their trash with me?

Will you take the challenge?

You have hereby been challenged to go green in a year without going broke! Check out the last challenge, or view the whole list of Challengicious Mondays. Sign up for my RSS feed, follow me on Twitter, and join my "Go Green without Going Broke" group on Facebook!


Brenda Pike March 22, 2010 at 3:51 PM  

I'm generally pretty good at packing my lunch, but I tend to be a little all or nothing. So my habit's good, but when something happens to break that habit—say, no groceries in the house or an unusually busy morning—my good intentions fall completely apart. I need to be better about back-up plans.

Erin aka Conscious Shopper March 22, 2010 at 9:19 PM  

@Brenda - That's definitely my problem too. If I can make something a habit - like taking my bags to the grocery store - I have no problem with it. But if something involves more spontaneity - like filling a craving for chocolate - I have more trouble. I've put together a to-go kit that I now keep in my car that makes it a little easier. It contains a thermos, cloth napkins, and utensils, and I'm going to add straws also. The hard part is remembering to take those things in to be cleaned after we use them and then to make sure they find their way back to the car.

Zee @GreenBlossoms March 23, 2010 at 2:52 AM  

Your son's lunch looks pretty good, this inspires me to meddle with my nephew's lunchbox contents. haha Incidentally, this is also Day 24 of our 31 Days Series, "Pack an Eco-friendly Lunch"! Love that you reused playdough containers -- what a great idea! Looking forward to read more of your waste-free lunch ideas at Green Phone Booth!

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