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Waste Free Wednesdays Return!

Posted by Jana Krausfeldt on Aug 30, 2012

Emerson lunches generate over 14,000 pounds of food and packaging garbage per year

Hello parents and students. Next week we will be starting our waste free lunch program again. Please note that we are in no way trying to badger parents about the lunches they provide. This program is supposed to be a fun way for the students to learn about the environment and to empower the kids to make positive changes for the planet. Last year the program was expanded to include hot lunches so that any student who wanted to participate could.

Why waste free lunches? In the fall of 2010, the Earth Ambassadors club did a waste audit to see how much garbage is created at lunch. Here is what they discovered in our school dumpster from one day of lunches:

The total weight of all waste (garbage, recyclables and slop bucket): 126 pounds

  • Weight of whole uneaten food: 18 pounds
  • Weight of partially eaten food: 27 pounds
  • Weight of slop bucket (where we dump unfinished milk/liquids): 25 pounds
  • Weight of everything else that will go to the landfill: 33 pounds
  • (plastic baggies, candy wrappers, chip bags, juice pouches, Styrofoam, etc.)
  • Recyclables (mostly milk cartons): 23 pounds

What is a waste free lunch? It’s just what it sounds like, a lunch which requires nothing to go into the garbage or recycle bin. Start with a reusable lunch box, pack food in reusable containers, use a refillable drink bottle and include reusable utensils and a cloth napkin.

How do you make a waste free lunch?

  • Our kids have less than 25 minutes to eat lunch, pack only what they have time to eat.
  • Ask them what they would like to eat so foods they don’t like won’t end up in the trash.
  • Cut up fruits and veggies so uneaten slices can be saved for later.
  • Use a refillable bottle so unfinished drinks can be used later.
  • Many dollar stores carry reusable containers and silverware for reasonable prices. Look for plastic which is BPH free.
  • Buy food in bulk and you can control the portion size your kids get. Examples are apples, carrots, granola, yogurt, trail mix, nuts, cereal.
  • Get your kids involved with making lunch.

Visit to learn more about why this is important and great ways to work with your kids to pack one. By having waste free lunch every Wednesday, the kids get a chance to make a positive impact on the world around them and they learn that even the smallest changes can make a difference.

Thanks, Go Green Committee.

Amy Wallace

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A special thank you to The Vitogiannis Family for providing lunch for our Emerson staff and teachers last week for Teacher Appreciation Week.  Everyone raved about it!  If you’d like to try it for yourself here is their address in... Continue »

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