Waste-free lunch ideas- more important than you think
Waste-free lunch ideas might sound like extra work, but the additional effort can go a long way and should be the norm given our plastic crisis.
You’ve likely seen photos of plastic littering international beaches and stuck inside of sea creatures. But how bad is the magnitude of plastic waste?
According to National Geographic millions of marine animals die every year due to plastic alone, 448 million tons of plastic were produced in 2015, and experts estimate plastic has a lifetime of 480 years to indefinitely. That’s right, some plastics will never fully disintegrate or break down.1
Although it’s clear a major shift internationally must take place, we also know small steps can be taken to lessen the individual impact. Taking care of the planet is not only admirable, it’s essential. And our waste-free lunch ideas will help you take small steps toward eliminating further plastic consumption.
Aside from the planet’s health, plastics can impact your health directly, too! For example, plastic food containers – even those free of BPA and phthalates – still break down over time. This means their particles could potentially leach into your food, yuck!2 These small particles are called microplastics. They range in size, but anything that can be accurately measured in millimetres or smaller would be considered a microplastic.3
Because plastic has only been on the planet in large quantities since the 1950’s, there’s still not a lot of information that tells us the exact risks of microplastic consumption.4 However, we do know it’s happening. Plastic presence in food and water has been reported.4 Chemical toxicity could occur over time if exposed to microplastics for long enough.4
Why take the health risks and contribute to more plastic on the planet? There are many plastic replacements available that make meals on the go easy, fun and safe.
Plastic wrap replacement – Plastic food wraps are convenient, easy but lead to so much destruction! Not to mention the risk of microplastic leaching. Go with a safer option that works just as well, like plant-based wax wraps. There are also beeswax wraps which should be bought mindfully as many corporations can enslave and harm bees. Purchasing from small, local companies is a best practice, or looking for alternatives to honey and beeswax products is a good way to ensure you’re not funding cruel practices. Learn more about how you can help the bees by reading How Organic Farming Helps Bees.
Pro Tip: You can buy your favourite PureFood Powders AND Canadian made Beeswax wraps at one of our amazing retailers, Local Boom – Localboom.ca
Plastic containers – plastic containers break down over time, can melt at high temperatures and of course like all plastics; are bad for you and the planet!! Switch to glass, ceramic or stainless steel containers. If money is a factor, reuse glass peanut butter jars as food containers, or get creative with your empty PureFood powder jars 😉
- Straws – unless you’ve been living away from human civilization for the past year or so, you would know that people are just now starting to get fired up about plastic straws. Better late than never! This means paint will be thrown at you if you use a plastic straw in a public setting. (There have been no reported cases of this, but we’re not going to test it out!) Regardless, who doesn’t want a hipster glass straw that looks beautiful?! Or, maybe a super durable stainless steel one? Nothing says empathetic millennial like a rose gold reusable straw!
Pro Tip: Check out these retailers for reusable straws:
The other enemies
Plastic use is definitely public enemy number 1, but what about the other wasteful habits we may often not think about?
Things to think about:
- Does your work/school/child’s school have a compost? If not, think about looking into it and starting a composting program.
- Do you think about where your food comes from and how it was created? Think about lessening your consumption of animal products and talk to a healthcare practitioner about how you can safely adopt a more plant-centric diet.
- Are the fruits and veggies you eat grown with harmful pesticides and other chemicals? We know organic foods can be cost prohibitive and aren’t equally accessible to all of us, but one way to increase awareness and accessibility is through creating demand. Our article ‘Organic on the Cheap’ will help you strategically and affordably buy organic foods when you can.
- Plastic bags, water bottles and cutlery are all one use products and easily build up waste in our world. Opt for reusable water bottles, stainless steel or bamboo cutlery, and a cloth tote like the items pictured in this article.
Taking it a step further
Lessening your individual plastic and overall waste consumption is no small feat. However, changing yourself for the better, and then expecting others to follow is not very effective.
Here are some ideas to help inspire you to get others involved in this cause:
- Lead by example, this is a great way to inspire change, be the change you want to see in the world.
- Does your work/school/child’s school have a plastic-free campaign or challenge? Think about encouraging your coworkers, friends or PTA committee to educate everyone on the effects of plastics, and sustainable, affordable solutions. Offer prizes to students or work departments if they can successfully go plastic free for 2 weeks! Emphasize education versus making people feel bad about using plastic.
- Email or message your favourite brands and ask them if they can omit any plastics or wastes in their packaging or production. Do the same to brands you don’t support due to their environmental choices, and let them know you would purchase from them if they changed.
- Support brands that are zero waste, don’t use plastic or are working to get rid of all plastics.
- Email, fax or write to your politicians and ask them to ban plastics. Get your friends, family and community to do the same.
- Initiate a zero waste challenge at work.
- Have open and honest conversations with those in your community about the impact plastics have on our world. Always try to frame the conversation as a friendly, soft reminder that our small actions have consequences beyond our own existence. People are more willing to change through positive encouragement and education, versus being told they’re doing something wrong. Keep the positive vibes going and people will be open to help! 🙂
Keep the conversation going and share with us your favourite plastic-free hacks!
Our plastic free story
It wouldn’t be fair for us to encourage you to stretch for your plastic free/waste-free goals without us being transparent about ours.
Currently, we use amber tinted glass jars for our core powder line. This includes 6 of our 8 SKUs. The lids are plastic, but we are exploring all options to cut plastic entirely out of our product line. We currently haven’t found a solution that will retain the integrity of our products. If you have any solutions that you think will work to keep our products sealed properly, please let us know.
Our other 2 SKUs are 2 different flavours of our Smoothie Boosters. We sometimes get asked if the packaging for our Smoothie Boosters is recyclable or biodegradable.
Unfortunately, the small sachets our Smoothie Boosters come in, are not biodegradable. Sadly, the individual sachets must be thrown out as the inside is an aluminum material and the outside is a paper/plastic mix.
We’re trying very hard to source a biodegradable option for the Smoothie Boosters that does not compromise the purity and effectiveness of our powders. Knowing that our Smoothie Booster sachets can’t be recycled, makes us sad and fuels our journey to find ones that can either be recycled, are plastic free or ultimately 100% biodegradable. For the time being, we know that this introductory product has helped many people try our powders, and then switch over to our more eco-friendly jarred products, which come in glass. This is better for the planet as many supplements come in plastic.
Please know this is a priority for us moving forward as a company. Not only are we trying to source biodegradable sachets, but, based on our knowledge, there aren’t any readily available that are certified compostable
and stable enough to protect our nutritional powders.
If you know of a great biodegradable sachet company we could connect with, please let us know and we would be excited to connect with them!
2018 milestone – Pranin Organic successfully transitioned from plastic customer packaging to paper only. Now, when you order your favourite PureFood powders straight from pranin.com you won’t receive any plastic.
“The measure of intelligence is the ability to change” – Albert Einstein
Don’t forget to share this article with someone you care about to keep the conversation going. Until next time!
3 – https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-43913597