We can now effectively recycle items that are recyclable, but what about the crisp packets, the straws and the chocolate bar wrappers? The amount of general waste we are producing is declining, but the volume could halve if students’ lunchboxes did not contain so much unrecyclable packaging.
Monitoring the recycling, it is disheartening that 3 in 5 items thrown away end up in the general waste. We have worked hard in the canteen to make the packaging compostable, which means lunchboxes are now the main culprit for general waste. Our aim is to suggest simple alternatives that will not take up a significant amount of time or cost more. The members of Eco Club have come up with the following suggestions.
Perhaps the most incriminating item we receive from lunchboxes is crisp packets; not only are crisps an unhealthy option, they are also very hard to recycle and take up to 80 years to biodegrade. We intend to highlight the issue in December by collecting crisp packets and sending them to TerraCycle for recycling, but reducing the number of packets now is a priority. A sustainable suggestion would be to buy a large packet of crisps and decant portions into a reusable pot or compostable sandwich bag. It is also cheaper to buy crisps in bulk as a large family packet.
Another prevalent issue is sandwich bags and clingfilm; both are not recyclable and are particularly harmful to the environment. Using tin foil is an easy solution to this problem. Paper bags are even better than tin foil because they are easier to recycle. The best alternative is a reusable sandwich box. These reduce the amount of general waste and are cheaper in the long-term. Reusable tubs are a worthwhile investment for more than just sandwiches as they also keep foods fresher for longer.
By following these simple alternatives to make your lunchboxes more environmentally friendly you are greatly improving the sustainability of the school. The new recycling system is becoming increasingly successful, and with a reduction of general waste, due to these alterations, we can make St Bart’s one of the eco-friendliest schools in the country.