Today, April 22, is Earth Day. I had dreams about this lunch. Really, I did. Call me weird. But hey, I take pictures of lunches, that's weird in and of itself, and it was only a matter of time before I dreamt about them too. (It's not the first time, either).
While the lunch I dreamed of was way better than this one, I'm not too disappointed. We made pancakes this morning with some leftover buttermilk so it's the star of the lunch. Then there's peas and kiwi to round it out.
I loved this picture below...you can read about ten things you can do on Earth Day here.
One of the things that began my lunch making escapades was a quest for reusable supplies for my girls lunches. I was tired of baggies and garbage. I had gone to eat lunch with my kindergartner (now sixth grader, yikes!) and was appalled by the amount of trash that was generated during that one lunch period. My mind began thinking about how much trash was generated by this one class, multiplied by how many lunches a day, every day, across the country. Overwhelming to think about, isn't it? Gone are the days of the plastic lunch tray, replaced by a styrofoam tray and plastic forks.
Ani DiFranco said it best in her song "Your Next Big Move:"
"what a waste of thumbs that are opposable
to make machines that are disposable"
Those lyrics stick out in my head almost every time I pass a plastic spoon over the counter at work. Every knife, every bit of paper, every time I see a giant ass purse and she asks for a bag for her little bag containing a cake pop.
I had to do my small little part. As a family, we had just begun using wash cloths instead of paper towels, cloth napkins instead of paper ones...and it was not only economical, it was ecological.
I wrote the following a few months ago and now seems like a good time to share it.
Oh to be completely green...that would be a dream. I suppose I could do it, if I really tried. But I will do my part as best I can. We don't use paper towels or napkins in our house. We have cloth bags handmade from BabyZing for snacks. We recycle more than we throw away. I save jars for leftovers and art projects. I try rather hard every day to make the girls lunches without using anything trashable. I'm always shocked at how much gets thrown away at their school. What ever happened to reusable lunch trays? Reusable silverware? It was mentioned at my last PTA meeting and I really want to jump on the principal and see if I can get her to change their trashy ways.
You can do your part, too. Just try and replace your paper towels and napkins with washcloths and cloth napkins. It's not hard. Nor is it expensive. I was at SAMs Club a few years ago and put one of those giant packs of paper towels in my cart. It was around $25. Then I moseyed on down the restaurant supply aisle and saw a pack of hotel style, white washcloths. It was $9 for a pack of 25. And the napkins were $8 for a pack of 8. I bought two sets of each and returned the paper towels to the shelf. When I got home, I cleared out a drawer next to the sink and stacked the washcloths inside. Now, every time I'm in need of a towel, they're right there. I whip one out, use it and then when it's dirty, I just toss it in the wash with whatever laundry is already in there. I don't separate whites from darks when it comes to the napkins and washcloths. They wash just fine no matter what.
Here are some products that could help you get started...
Visit BabyZing for the snack bags. She also has a ton of other reusable items for sale. They're great quality. I've had our snack bags for at least a year, if not longer and they're still like new.
I've also bought some really cute little napkins from Red Poppy Crafts for the girls lunches. They are way more fun than the plain white napkins I've been using for years. Tie dying white napkins is a fun project to do with the kids, too. We even tie dyed a table cloth to match for use down at the pool...after I saw someone changing a dirty diaper on one of the tables, I was so grossed out, I never go down there without a table cloth now.