When you go to school or to university, you not only produce trash when actually studying there but also in the school life as a whole. The main source of waste can be your lunch. To avoid waste, here come tips on how to stay waste free and still enjoy a tasty meal!
1. Pack a lunchbox
I personally always pack a lunchbox for school, mostly because it is cheaper than buying my whole food everyday. Eating out of a lunchbox, however, also helps avoiding useless trash in school.
The first thing you need for this is a lunch box. I recommend using at least two lunch boxes of different size. This way, you can adjust the amount of food you want to take with you, for example according to the number or hours, you stay in school or the kind of food, you take with you.
My favorite kind of lunchboxes are obviously obentos, plastic boxes, often with integrated chopsticks, printed with cute characters or patterns. There are also mono-colored plastic lunchboxes or metal boxes.
I recommend preparing your lunchbox the day before school. In the evening, I fill my lunchbox with remains of the lunch, we had this day at home. If we did not eat a real lunch or it is not enough to fill up the box, I fill the boy with a variety of different foods;
fruits: always very tasty and energizing
vegetables: refreshing and more filling than most fruits
nuts: giving a lot of nutrients and good to snack between lessons
bread with filling: I use dark bread or crispbread and layer it with avocado cream, vegan cheese or vegetable cream
If I have time, I also sometimes cook or bake something to put it into my lunchbox. The food you put in your lunchbox should be well nourishing, varied and compact. Do not fill your box up with space- consuming, not filling snacks!
What you have to be careful about when preparing your lunch is to separate dry fruit (bread, nuts,..) from moist food (fruits, vegetables, sauce,..) When you put the lunchbox in the fridge over night, parts may blend and lead to a not always tasty food mix.
If you have your lunchboxes, you better pack them into some kind of bag. I use a small towel that I knot around the box as well as a fabric elastic to hold the box together. It may also be helpful to pack a towel as napkin.
Accordingly, I also take a reusable water bottle with me. Mine is made out of plastic and metal but you can also take an empty disposable drink bottle and fill it up with your favorite drink (I drink water; if I empty the bottle at school, I can refill it easily at the bathroom.)
If your school or university has a canteen, it is also a possibility to eat there for lunch. As food is served on porcelain dishes and metal cutlery, it is creating very little waste. Some dishes, however, are served with paper napkins. If so, you may ask to get a meal without a napkin.
In a lot of canteens, you can also drink water for free out of glass bottles.
Eating in the canteen may be more comfortable, because you so not have to prepare your lunch in advance and carry it around the whole school day. The only thing you have to worry about are your food choices..
As for my school, there are numerous supermarkets and shops that are within walking distance. Here it is often difficult to get something waste free.
If you want to eat at a fast food store or another restaurant like shop, you should bring your own lunch box or bag to get the food put in. Moreover, it is helpful to bring reusable cutlery to avoid eating with disposable plastic forks.
Another option is to get food at a supermarket. Waste free food here are unpacked fruits and vegetables (if you weigh them, put the weight sticker directly on the food without using a plastic bag) and sometimes bread or rolls (put them into a reusable fabric bag). When purchasing food, remember to bring your own fabric bags to transport the food in.
So when going shopping, you should have a basic zero waste kit with you.
I hope, this article helped you to reduce the waste you produce when eating at school/ university.
What kind of school lunch do you prefer and how do you keep it zero waste?