I am Editor/Writer of the Eco Newsletter in my son's school. The theme for this month is packing green lunch. This is an excerpt from the newsletter removing school specific initiatives, programs and rewards. Hope this is useful for everyone.
Are you intrigued by the title saying ‘green’ lunch? Well, that doesn’t mean that we should eat everything green! As we all know, the term ‘green’ is often heard in relation to the environment – to protect it, to nurture it, save it! Environmental pollution, global warming and the hazardous effects are well known. Humans have developed an easy-to-go, throw-away, make-life-simple attitude. It sounds good but when we look at it deeply the drastic effects are inconceivable.
The food choices we make not only have impact on us but also on the Earth. All the pre-packed food we find easy to use is not as healthy as we think those to be. And they add lots and lots of non-biodegradable plastic waste to the Earth. We definitely do not want the far future generations to excavate and discover about the ‘plastic age’ as we try to research the ‘Ice age’! If they happen to do so they will certainly hate us for having jeopardized the future of the Earth and the life of the future generations. Earth was able to bounce back with life after ‘Ice Age’ but it’s not that easy to bounce back from the ‘plastic age’. For the plastics fill every part of the Earth, both land and water spoiling the nature’s resources for life. Having done enough damage already, it’s our responsibility to stop, think and act. One such area to be considered is the simple thing – packing our lunch box!
Objectives of packing a green lunch:
· Leaving a healthy environment for our future generations, after all we all need our kids and grandkids to be healthy and happy.
· Reduce the non-biodegradable waste to be thrown. It’s just too much waste in the forms of wraps, forks, spoons, soda cans, juice boxes and pouches, aluminum foils and Ziplocs.
· Pack the desired portion rather than wasting the excess from pre-packed food.
· Be assured of quality and safety of the food.
· Reduce, Recycle and Reuse.
· To let deer, rhinos, albatross, turtles – all the animals and bird to live by avoiding the various plastic materials ending up in their stomach or lungs!
· Make kids healthy and also environmentally aware.
· Last but not the least – when the waste is just biodegradable food material, it’s easy to compost and make Mother Earth flourish!
Packing a green lunch:
· The foremost thing to pack a green lunch is to make and pack at home!
· Try to choose fresh foods over processed food as the processing, packaging, freezing and cooking frozen food all increase the energy usage. According to a study a frozen bag of carrots has nearly triple the associated global warming pollution compared to purchasing a fresh bunch of carrots.
· Buy fresh produce rather than pre-packed salads and spend a few minutes washing and chopping and be assured of health and safety. An E.Coli outbreak in the US in 2006 was linked to pre-packed baby spinach, so think before trusting labels saying food is prewashed. Studies also have reported the presence of salmonella and listeria bacteria in pre-packed salads, especially those containing meat.
· Apples, bananas, berries, carrots, broccoli, all fruits and vegetables for that matter are better than Cheetos and chips.
· Pack food in reusable containers – metal, BPA free plastic or glass. There are plenty of containers available in the market if you want to buy. Or you can use the containers we have at home already. And remember also to stay away from vinyl lunch boxes as they are reported to contain lead!
· Use a reusable water bottle for the drink and of course, water is the best drink option. Pre-packed individual juice is not a healthy and good option. You can juice in big bottles and pour the required portion into a reusable container.
· Use silverware rather than using disposable plastic forks and spoons.
· Use cloth napkins instead of paper napkins. You can also make your own cloth napkins from old and favorite T-shirts.
Well, gear up and get started!
Going Green -Good health – Great Earth!