A friend rang last week several weeks ago (yes I’ve been writing this post for weeks) asking for tips for implementing packaging free days for her daughter’s school. I said I would email her some information and then promptly dropped the ball. Now I’m picking it back up again in the form of a blog post.

Apparently, the school in question has tried it before but found that there were too many lunch boxes lying around the yard. I gather the experiment died shortly thereafter. It is a universal fact that Ankle Biters are not great at keeping track of their belongings. Especially boring belongings like lunch boxes. It’s a learned art. My suggestion is that each class is nominated a day to collect stray lunchboxes. During the last 5 – 10 minutes of lunch break (depending on yard/student body size), the rostered class gather up all scattered boxes and place them in a central box or basket for collection. This works best if both boxes and lids are labelled (masking tape is a good cheap way of doing this).

The next issue to overcome to have cooperation from the whole school is to make it easy. It may not be quite as easy as throwing a small box of sultanas, an individual tub of yoghurt and so on in a bag but it doesn’t have to be much more complicated either. In fact, it can even be cheaper. A decent assortment of different sized containers is a must. Throwing a new one in the shopping trolley each week is an effective way of stocking up without breaking the budget too badly. Besides, the cost of the containers can be offset by buying a kilo tub of yoghurt (or making your own) instead of individual tubs, a large bag of sultanas instead of individual boxes and so on. Best of all, the Ankle Biters can put them in portion sized containers themselves. Even a Prep Ankle Biter is capable of that. Breeding responsibility and reducing your workload all at the same time. Not to mention saving money and the planet.

Some ideas on what to send for lunch.

Some ideas on alternative packaging.