Your days will get better after lunch time, which is why we’re mostly excited when it’s twelve o’clock. We can eat something tasty, take a break from our daily duties, and chat around with some friends and colleagues. To make your lunch time more eco friendly, here are some ways.
1. Resort to reusables
It’s high time to ditch your usual, single-use paper or plastic lunch bags, since it generates around 30kg of waste each year. So, instead of contributing to more waste, go for reusable lunch bags and lunch boxes. And don’t worry about looking old-fashioned or something, there are many stylish ones that you can choose.
As a recommendation, use bento boxes. If you’re not familiar with this, these boxes have sort of partitions or stacks that you can fill in with whatever you want to eat. Usually the largest container is for rice, then the other ones for veggies, meat, and also sauce. The boxes are very effective to keep your lunch neat and separated.
Get the usual plastic or wooden boxes to the more hardy stainless steel version. Whatever you choose, you’re going to have a great time with these boxes. Pair the box with cutlery that’s also reusable.
2. Give requests
There are times when you just can’t bring your own lunch and you have to buy something to eat. Now, when you do this, make sure that you can find restaurants that value sustainability. If you’re unable to find it, then you can always ask them to leave out paper napkins, plastic cutlery, straws, unnecessary flyers, and ketchup sachets.
Therefore, you have to ready yourself with the reusable ones in your office or bags. Oh, and if the restaurants let you, you can also bring your empty lunch box and ask them to put the food in your box instead. This way, you’ll have nothing to waste.
3. Try to reduce meat consumption
You don’t have to go full vegan (you can, of course) in order have eco-friendly lunch, breakfast or dinner. Veganism not for everyone, after all. However, you should still cut down eating meat because producing meat takes a lot of energy and natural resources, leaving abundant carbon footprint.
If you’ve been trying to go vegan, then good for you. When you go vegan, you’re cutting your carbon footprint in half. But if you haven’t, don’t feel discouraged because you’re still making a difference by eating only plant-based food some days in a week.
When you’re not consuming meat, it means that there are more freshwater available for everyone and the amount of methane that goes to the atmosphere will be reduced, too.
Now, eating plant-based diet is not only about vegetable salad all the time. There are a lot of vegetarian or vegan food recipes that you can find anywhere on the internet or cookbooks. You might be surprised by how delicious they are.
To make this more impactful, you can start an eco-friendly lunch club with your coworkers or friends. This way, you can help the planet to be a better place in a fun way.
4. Don’t leave the leftovers
Leftovers are your best friend. They will give you quick and easy lunch meal because you have a chance for quick cooking and just dump them all into your lunch box. In fact, you can also make a large batch of your favorite food and then reheat and take one batch away for your lunch time. It’s an eco-friendly eating habit made easy.
5. Appreciate local produce
Forget about supermarkets for a while and give your attention to your nearest local farmers market. These markets sell fresh produce and a lot of goodies that you can buy as your lunch like fresh-baked bread, traditional food, and even artisanal cheeses. It’s better if you walk there instead of using personal vehicles as well.
One thing to remember is that you should buy stuff from the market seasonally and locally (and avoid buying imported goods from the markets). For you, the price will be cheaper. For local farmers and businesses, your money can support them well. For the environment, this action will help it become better.
When it’s the right season, most kinds of produce don’t need pesticides and chemicals too much because they can grow well on their own. Other than that, you’re not going to buy something which has been shipped from some place far, so you minimize your own carbon footprint. If you have no idea which season is which, go to the markets and see for yourself.
Supermarkets are fine, depending on the company/brand of course. And if you do shop there, no problem. Just make sure that you buy “ugly” produce if possible. When you go to supermarket, you rarely see produce that are not pleasant looking because some shoppers don’t want to buy unattractive produce, leading to waste of a lot of things.
You know that those “ugly” produce is going to be cooked and eaten anyway. So what you can do is ask the employees if they’ve got produce in the back which don’t look appealing. If they do have it, then buy them and you’ll save them from turning into waste.
If they don’t, then it’s time to move on to local markets or other supermarket chains that care about the environment such as Whole Foods and Walmart. Both have started to commit to less waste by selling “ugly” fruits and veggies.
6. Prioritize fair trade
Why buy fair trade? Because it’s the kind of action that support and improve the working conditions as well as the lives of farmers and the farms that must comply with environmental standards. Whatever kinds of fair trade products you buy, you’re buying from companies that source water and soil sustainably. Bonus, most of the products are also organic.
7. Don’t forget to have lunch
Did the thought “I’ll just take the simple way–skip lunch altogether!” come to your mind? Well, you should never do that, unless you want to lose weight so rapidly like Christian Bale (which is not healthy if done too often). Lunch break is the perfect time to recharge your mind and refuel your body with food.
Just because you’re eating on your desk, doesn’t mean you can be satisfied with it. When you’re planning to eat and work at the same time, you’re not going to pick the eco-friendly ones. You’ll resort to whatever food you can find like a bag of chips, and you won’t pay attention to your takeaway meals or your own lunch box.
So go outside, find a park or simple square of grass where you can enjoy the view, eat your lunch, and maybe talk with your colleagues or friends. Just unwind for a little bit and you’ll be ready to get on with the rest of your work later on.
Well now. Ready to change your lunch habits? Tell us what you think in the comments below. Don’t forget to click here for related reading!