Back to School Waste Free Tips

The new school term is here, signifying a good time for fresh starts including a new approach to food and waste being sent to and from school with your kids. Join us for a healthy, planet-friendly term ahead with our zero waste tips and tricks for back to school…

Food Prep

Food prep goes a long way in ensuring your kids are not only getting maximum nutrition into each day, but also that their lunchbox is free from single-use plastics. When it comes to daytime snacks, instead of buying individually packaged (and often processed) snacks and tetrapak drinks, offer your kids fresh whole foods and a reusable drink bottle of water (the kids will love our new range of colours ways). Here are some lunchbox recipes that’ll go down a treat in school lunchboxes:

Peanut Butter, Banana & Raspberry Loaf: A delicious lunchbox filler, with a versatile batter that can also be made into muffins or a cake depending on your kids’ preference!

Banana Oat Energy Balls: These tasty, nourishing energy balls are quick and easy to whip up and roll on a Sunday in prep for weekday lunches. They’ll keep your children energised between breakfast and lunch, then lunch and afternoon tea.

Basil & Poppy Seed Scones: For something savoury and filling, these are a unique take on the traditional scone that tastes amazing with a dollop of organic butter. Substitute a scone for a sandwich, or add it into the lunchbox as an additional snack.

Chocolate Crackle Snack Bar: For the chocolate-loving kiddies, these are a much healthier version of the traditional kiwi party favourite. They’re easy and fun to make; a good way to get the little ones involved in the kitchen to make school lunches more exciting!

Gingerbread Men: These cookies can be considered a “treat” for the kids to build excitement, but in fact they’re gluten-free, refined sugar-free and plant-based so still very healthy! And not lacking in any ginger flavour or delicious crunch.

Keep the Pantry Stocked

What’s the first thing kids want to do once they’re home from school? Eat! Keeping the pantry well stocked and organised with nourishing whole foods in easy to see/use containers and jars is a great solution to encourage healthy eating and minimal waste. Think along the lines of glass jars filled with tasty dried fruits and crunchy flavoured nuts for afternoon snacking, as well as some pre-prepared snacks stored away for the week if you’ve got the time – here are some ideas:

Chia Pudding: A satisfying afternoon snack for the kids that can be made into any number of different flavours to suit their taste preference – try one of these cinnamon/maple, chocolate or matcha mixes to start with, and further experiment from there.

Nutella Smoothie Bowl: You’ll grab your kids’ attention at “Nutella”! This creamy smoothie bowl is a super yummy and filling afternoon treat with all the sweet, chocolatey, nutty goodness of Nutella without any nasties. Make it even more fun to eat by getting the kids to sprinkle their own toppings, like cacao nibs, extra nuts, coconut chips…

Chai Spiced Pear Crumble: Whip this one up for a family dessert and save the leftovers for weekday afternoon tea. You can use this same base recipe with whatever fruits are in season to keep things interesting.

Bliss Balls: For those days when the afternoon is filled with extra-curriculars, pack some Cacao Almond Fat Balls or Energy Bites for nutritional, filling, on-the-go snacking.

Planet-Friendly Storage

China alone produces over 15 billion plastic lunchboxes each year, primarily made from polypropylene plastic. While polypropylene is recyclable, when it is heated it creates chemicals with some toxicity that can lead to pollution and health concerns. Lunchboxes aside, most school lunches contain other single-use plastic such as cling wrap, snaplock bags, pre-packaged goods and plastic water bottles.

Instead of a plastic lunchbox, opt for a durable, stainless steel Ever Eco Lunch Box. The Stackable Lunch Box is suitable if you like to keep snacks and lunch compartmentalised for the kids, and it’s the ideal size to fit everything for the day – morning tea, lunch and snacks. The simple Bento Snack Box is a great choice for smaller snacking foods, made up of two compartments with a handy divider to keep snacks separated. These chic looking, planet-friendly lunch containers are dishwasher safe and will last a lifetime if used and cleaned effectively.

Avoid cling wrap and snaplock bags in kids’ lunchboxes and instead use Honeywraps (available in Medium or Large) to maintain the freshness of lunch food. When wrapped in Honeywraps, food lasts longer and tastes better because the beeswax coating allows the food to breathe while staying covered and sealed. Honeywraps are made from GOTS-certified organic cotton blended with a mix of beeswax, tree resin and jojoba oil. They are easy to use, simple to clean and can be used over and over again.

Hand-Me-Downs

At the rate kids grow, buying new school uniforms and accessories each time they’ve grown out of their current set is wasteful and expensive. Chat with other parents about uniform swaps or paying for hand-me-downs rather than always buying brand new. Chances are the uniforms that other children have already grown out of are not currently being used.

Eco Stationary

Stick to the basics when it comes to pencil cases and additional stationary required for the term – this is not only more eco-friendly but also more cost effective. Choose books with paper/card covers and a staple or metal spiral-bind, and choose not to add duraceal. Opt for wooden or metal pencil sharpeners and rulers as opposed to their plastic counterparts, so that eventually they can be recycled or composted. Keep pencils, pens and highlighters to a minimum and utilise the school’s resources where possible.

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