One easy way to save some green is by going green. Nearly 44 million American workers purchase or eat lunch out every weekday.* If you spend $5 a day and work 5 days a week, you’re spending $1,300 a year on lunch alone. Not only is eating out costly and time consuming, it’s also leading to more waste. The solution: some less expensive, earth-friendly eats.
Americans throw away enough paper and plastic cups, forks and spoons every year to circle the equator 300 times, while the average American office worker consumes about 500 disposable cups annually.* Instead of contributing to this problem, consider a contribution to waste reduction and recycling solutions.
Start by packing your lunch. Select a reusable lunch bag or a traditional brown bag (those are recyclable). Find a reusable sandwich container or a reusable sandwich wrap. Then plan your menu with green goals in mind. It is possible to create a nearly wasteless lunch.
Make a simple sandwich, and begin adding the sides.
There are several compostable fruit and vegetables that travel well and taste great. Apples, apricots, avocado, bananas, figs, grapefruit, grapes, kiwi, mango, melons, nectarines, oranges, pears and peaches are all delicious options. If you like veggies, choose from bell peppers, broccoli, carrots, celery, cucumbers, lettuce and more.
Mix veggies with pasta, cheese and salad dressing or combine fruit into a fresh salad or with a creamy dip. Place the items into reusable containers.
Want something heartier during those chilly months? Try adding heated soup to a thermos. It will stay warm until lunch. You can also bring soup in a can and recycle the empty steel can.
If you must have chips, pretzels or other crunchy snacks, buy a large bag and bring it to work or school in reusable containers instead of plastic baggies. Pieces of cake and pie fit nicely into your favorite containers with lids as well.
Encourage the use of these reusable containers, save more money and avoid packaging related to single serve options by upgrading to bulk size containers of apple sauce, yogurt, granola, chips, crackers and other snack items.
Finally, bring linens, real silverware and dishes.
When sitting down to lunch, celebrate because you’re saving money and our planet at the same time. Practicing the habits mentioned above may improve your health, your outlook, your budget and your world.
*Statistics available from Lexicon Lighting.
About the author: Amanda Pratt is the director of corporate communications for Rumpke.