- “Step By Step Sustainability,” written by Kane County Resource Management Coordinator Jessica Mino, focuses on ways Kane County residents can move toward a sustainable, future-friendly lifestyle. Each article will help you take that next step toward sustainability, with topics ranging from household products to managing your outdoor spaces to travel to work life.
It takes time to find alternatives to all the single-use plastic products in our lives.
As I mentioned in the article introducing this series, let’s take it step-by-step.
First up, let’s look at how we package our food — focusing on lunches or any other foods we need to take with us.
The most important takeaway from this article will be to avoid single-use plastic, a message we’ve underlined in previous articles. Today, we’ll be working to stop buying plastic wrap, plastic bags, and plastic utensils … and move toward reusable products!
Step 1: Look at What The Food Is In
Reusable containers are the foundation of a sustainable lunch.
Glass containers are my first choice. They last longer than plastic and can be safely microwaved.
For a budget-friendly option, you can also save containers from store-bought grocery items to reuse before recycling.
Although these containers may seem like odds and ends, having a variety of shapes and sizes helps you find the right fit for any food item you want.
Step 2: Wrap In Beeswax
I love bringing wraps for lunch and have found beeswax wrap to work perfectly for this.
With beeswax, I can have a lunch favorite without bringing along the heavy, large container that would be needed to fit it in. Beeswax wrap is a natural alternative to plastic wrap, and can be made to fit any shape with just the warmth of your hands.
This beeswax wrap I have had for over a year and a half!
A tip for longevity: Make sure to wash in COLD soapy water to not breakdown the wax.
Step 3: Find Something To Carry It In
Let’s get back to the days of lunch boxes. They aren’t just for kids!
Cloth lunchboxes are easy to throw into any work bag and also easy to clean. I have two, so I can use one while the other is line drying. (As with all things, line drying makes them last longer.)
Of course, if you aren’t by a fridge, investing in an insulated lunch cooler can be a lifesaver on those hot summer days.
Step 4: Use Linen Napkins, Reusable Utensils
Finally, replacing disposable napkins with linen napkins and plastic silverware with bamboo (light-weight) or metal (sturdy) reusable utensils will finish off your sustainable lunch.
I hope you all are able to enjoy your sustainably-packed lunches outdoors on a nice sunny spring day!