Families can save money and the planet by ditching single-use plastics in school lunches

Provided by Friends of the Earth
Families can save money and the planet by ditching single-use plastics in school lunches

Ottawa, October 2,2023 – Friends of the Earth’s 11-year-old Plastics Campaigner, Maya, is calling on students, parents, and teachers to join her in getting rid of single-use plastics in school lunches. Canadian families could save more than $527 million over the school year by rejecting single-use plastic packaging and making use of reusable containers.

Maya’s “How I spent my summer vacation essay” is a meticulous study comparing the costs for preparing lunches with and without single-use plastic packaging over the school year. She calculated that one family with two kids and one parent packing lunches could save $716 and avoid 4,656 pieces of single-use plastic over the school year.

“I was shocked at how much my mom and dad can save by moving to reusable containers,” says Maya “and I’m very worried that we’re making so much plastic pollution just through our school lunches. I’m hoping kids and their teachers all over Canada will join the campaign to help stop plastic pollution AND save their families a lot of money. Plastic pollution harms all of us, our plants, our soil, our animals, our planet, and even ourselves. Let’s reduce single-use plastics in our school lunches and help our family’s budget and our planet.”

Any class or school can join Friends of the Earth’s Plastic-Free Lunch Campaign by signing on and downloading the campaign material. It offers instructions for a survey of single-use plastic waste from home lunches along with advice on how to share results to advocate for plastic-free lunches with people who have to make decisions about reducing single-use plastic pollution.

It’s amazing what one 11-year old can do to tackle the plastic problem that pollutes every part of our environment and adds to our climate chaos,” says Beatrice Olivastri, CEO, Friends of the Earth Canada. We are proud to be working with Maya and all students that want to work with her. After all, Maya and kids like her the world over are going to inherit the massive amounts of plastic waste we’re leaving behind.

In her research, Maya calculated that a typical family packs lunches for two students and one adult (considering one adult may be working remotely). She listed what a typical lunch and snack would be and then researched costs in the grocery store where her family shops. She calculated that, in one day alone, 21 single-use plastic products

may be used to pack a typical lunch for three family members. Then, she calculated the difference in cost when families bulk buy and use reusable containers to put together their lunches. Over the course of the school year, based on 194 class days, the savings per family can amount up to $716. Maya notes that families might have to take on some one-time purchases such as a reusable lunch box or single-serving containers so that single-use plastic can be avoided.

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