Create a Litterless Lunch

Photo: Kids Konserve offers stylish, complete lunch kits—for kids and adults
Make your kids’ lunch waste-free.

Litterless lunches at school are the new recycling: if your kids don’t do it, it’s bound to reflect badly on you. And for good reason. On average, a school-age child with a disposable lunch generates approximately 30 kg (67 lbs.) of waste per school year. That means that if your child has 25 kids in his/her class, they are producing 737 kg (1,625 lbs.) of waste each year. Doesn't a car weigh less than that? Just imagine what a whole school produces.

But litterless lunches aren't just for kids. Adults are catching on. No more brown-bagging it—now we're lunch-bagging it. Here's how to catch the wave.

What’s In:

  • Cloth napkins
  • Stainless-steel cutlery
  • Food-storage containers
  • Lunch bags
  • Water bottles (BPA-free, of course!)

What’s Out:

  • Paper napkins
  • Plastic cutlery
  • Individual-portion packaging
  • Brown bags
  • Juice boxes

Reusable lunch bags are a must

They don't rip and you can use them day after day. Litterless lunches require a bit more space, so look for a lunch bag that can hold three or four food-storage containers and a water/juice bottle.

For picky eaters

If you child has the attitude that "different food groups must not touch before entering my mouth,” we recommend a Bento Lunch Box from, which guarantees that all its insulated lunch bags are lead free.

USD$19.95 and up
Online at

Bottle it

We like the fact that Tetra Paks and glass bottles are recyclable, but we like something that's reusable even more. Klean Kanteen has a line of cool-looking water bottles that are durable (think water bottle meets fire extinguisher), light and, because they're lined with aluminum, don't leech any extra flavours or toxins into your drink. There's a style and size for everyone, from kids to hip yoga mamas.

USD $15 and up
Online at or various Canadian retailers (use the store locator).

Storage solutions

Food-grade, non-leaching stainless steel is the container of choice these days. Brands such as Lunch Bots come in a huge array of shapes and sizes, with leak-proof lids. And stainless steel containers are also lighter and less dangerous than glass.

$9 and up
Online at or at most kitchen stores.

Hot pot

For soup or warm pasta, forget about the old-fashioned Thermos. The company’s Foogo line of vacuum-insulated stainless-steel models are BPA-free and lightweight, with only a few food-safe plastic plastic components.
$15 and up
At most grocery stores and department stores.

One-stop shopping

There are tons of concerned Moms and eco-preneurs making a living off of litterless lunch gear. U.S.-based Kids Konserve offers some stylish, complete lunch kits—for kids and adults alike—that include a cotton sack, stainless steel containers and beverage bottle, cloth napkins and food cozy and a recycled aluminum name tag.

Online at
For more information on litterless lunches, go to or These sites have good information, and they even provide tips on how to set up a litterless-lunch program at your child's school or at your workplace.