Most of us will remember how once, when we were still children and going to school, our parents used to make us lunch every day. Often, they made a pack of sandwiches, put them in a lunch box and then in our little briefcase. And sometimes, they would surprise us with something a little different. An omelette, maybe, or some leftover spaghetti from the evening before. Maybe they’d put in a biscuit or yogurt as a dessert and if we were very lucky, we’d get a yummy drink as well. Yet whatever we got, the lunch box was a faithful constant.
Once we grew up, little by little we began to cover our own lunch. Instead of preparing some at home each and every day, we would begin to stop by the shop at noon and pick up a take-away sandwich, a salad or a pasta. That soon became a habit once we began to work and before you noticed, you never packed lunch anymore and you always relied on take-away meals for your lunch. Not great for your wallet, nor for the planet.
Because all those meals you might buy at noon are, more often than not, wrapped in something. Maybe it’s a single-use container, maybe it’s cling wrap, maybe it’s aluminium foil. And sure, just one of those packages doesn’t look like much. It’s just one little piece of garbage. But if you’re used to getting take-away each and every day, those little bits of garbage soon start to add up. As does the price of all those yummy treats. So, if you’re keen to save a some money and to do something which benefits the environment, you better start to follow your parents’ example and prepare your lunch at home. And don’t be worried, the lunch box has evolved a lot over the years, making sure no dish is too difficult to pack.
1. Beeswax wraps
If you’re someone who always goes for cling foil or aluminium paper, beeswax wraps might be the perfect sustainable alternative for you. As the name suggests, they’re made out of beeswax and a piece of cotton tissue. You can buy some online or you could even make them yourself – the perfect weekend DIY. As they take up almost no space, they’re perfect to take with you on a trip as well. The only downside is the fact that you can’t place any meat or fish in them for hygienic reasons. But if you mainly eat vegetarian, it’s a great option.
2. Isothermal soup container
You don’t like sandwiches and noon? You prefer something hot and hearty, maybe some soup or leftovers from your meal the night before? An isothermal soup container is great, as it can keep your food warm for quite a while and – even more important – it doesn’t leak. Because let’s be honest, there’s nothing more frustrating than a bag full of tomato sauce or another liquid substance of any sort.
3. Reusable sandwich bag
Another great sustainable alternative are reusable sandwich bags. You buy some once and then you can just put them in the dishwasher or wash them by hand after each use. They come in very handy for sandwiches but it doesn’t stop there. Cookies, grapes, nuts, you name it, a lot of food can be stored this way. Again, great if you’re travelling and don’t want to produce too much trash.
4. Bento box
The bento box is what you might name the adult version of the traditional lunch box. You can find them in all kinds of materials – from bamboo to stainless steel – but one common trait is their handy division into smaller compartments. Originally from Japan, they’re designed to be able to carry lots of different smaller dishes, like rice, fruit and vegetables. Not ideal if you’re just going for your big leftover portion of spaghetti but great if you like to eat all kinds of smaller dishes at once.
5. Travel cutlery set and reusable water bottle
No lunch is complete without the right tools. And instead of always grabbing the single-use cutlery you might find at work or in a restaurant, taking your own travel cutlery set is a great way to start your journey towards a more sustainable lunch. And of course, a beautiful reusable water bottle can’t be missing – stay hydrated, folks!