Pack A Waste-Free Lunch
Waste-Free Lunch Poster
Learn how to be waste-free! EPA developed the Waste-Free Lunch poster to help students learn how to reduce, reuse, and recycle items in their school lunches. The poster can be displayed in your classroom and throughout your school. Use the poster to get your students interested in waste-free lunches and to learn how to organize a Waste-Free Lunch Day.
The back of the poster has activities for your students. These activities are available individually in PDFs below:
- Make Today and Every Day a Waste-Free Lunch Day (PDF) (1 pg, 43KB, about PDF)
Share these instructions with your students so that you and your students can organize a Waste-Free Lunch Day.
- Pack Waste-Free and Healthy (PDF) (1 pg, 173K, about PDF)
Use these sample menus to get ideas on what to pack in a waste-free lunch.
- Waste-Free Lunch Day, Did You Pack a Waste-Free Lunch? (PDF) (2 pp, 42K, about PDF)
Students may use this tracking chart to log how much waste they prevented by packing waste-free.
Get Parents Involved!
Parent involvement in planning and packing a waste-free lunch is very important. Below is a sample letter that you can send home to parents to help them shop for waste-free items and help their kids pack waste-free lunches.
Share Your Success!
Help others join the waste-free lunch craze by sharing your success story. E-mail EPA your story and pictures from your Waste-Free Lunch Day. In your email, include your name, your schools name, an explanation of what you did to make your Waste-Free Lunch Day a success, and any photos you would like posted on the EPA website. Photos should be at least 5 inches by 7 inches and 72 dots per inch. You will need to get written permission from parents as well as your school principal before submitting photos to be posted on the EPA Web site.
For more information on waste-free lunches, check out the following resources:
- EPAs Wastes Web Site
Federal program that provides information on how to reduce waste at home, work, and school.
- Tips for a Waste-Less School Year
Offers a number of ideas for creating less waste.
- Reuse + Recycling = Waste Reduction: A Guide for Schools and Groups (PDF) (32 pp, 675K, about PDF)
A step-by-step how-to guide for setting up a waste reduction program in schools.
- Waste Not, Want Not: Feeding the Hungry and Reducing Solid Waste Through Food Recovery (PDF) (59 pp, 1.4MB, about PDF)
This document by the US Department of Agriculture and the US Environmental Protection Agency explains how to start a Waste Not Want Not program at school.
- Waste-Free Lunches
Provides information on how to participate in or start a waste-free lunch program.
- Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
Information and success stories on reducing waste that can be applied to other schools.
- US Composting Council
Links to numerous publications and other Web sites that focus on composting and provides tips on home composting.
- Cornell University Composting in Schools
Provides a number of composting resources for teachers, including ideas for student research projects.
- American Forest and Paper Association
Shares information, including environmental policies and recycling initiatives, about forest products such as paper and wood.
- Paper Industry Association Council
Offers educational flyers, posters, and a recycling video for downloading to help students see the difference they can make by increasing the amount of paper they recycle.
- Use products made with recycled materials
- Use energy-efficient light bulbs and rechargeable batteries
- Shop with cloth bags
- Reuse plastic bags, cups, containers, etc.
- Repair items instead of throwing them away.
- Compost your food and yard waste.
Pack A Waste-Free Lunch
- Sandwiches in reusable containers
- Whole fruits without packaging
- Drinks in containers that can be reused, such as a thermos, or recycled, such as a can
- Snacks purchased in bulk and brought in reusable containers
- Individually wrapped snacks
- Plastic baggies that are not reusable
- Disposable forks and spoons