Make lunch more sustainable

On average, RecycleNation.com estimates each American family uses 500 plastic sandwich bags a year.

Many of those bags end up in the landfill, treated as single-use plastics.

The good thing, according to S.C. Johnson and Sons, the creator of Ziploc storage bags, is that the bags can be recycled.

Considered a plastic film, plastic sandwich bags like Ziploc bags can be recycled along with grocery bags at participating bag drop-off locations.

They cannot be recycled in a curbside bin with plastic bottles and jugs, according to plasticfilmrecycling.org but there are some 18,000 recycling drop-off centers that do accept sandwich bags.

Locally, those drop-off centers include Walmart, Meijer and Kohls stores in Angola.

Many of the recycled bags become composite lumber used for fences, benches, decks, door and window frames or playground equipment according to ziploc.com.

But if you want to ditch the sandwich bag all together, there are other options for carrying your lunch to work or school each day.

Reusable sandwich bags made out of silicone can be found on Amazon for as little as $6 for a small set. These bags can be washed and reused numerous times without the same waste as a traditional sandwich bag.

Waterproof fabric sandwich bags with zippers also are available on Amazon and can be washed out or put through the dishwasher, in may cases, to be reused.

A company called Planet Wise, headquartered in Wisconsin, carries a number of reusable snack and sandwich bags as well as reusable sandwich wraps that can also double as a placemat.

Their items are available online at planetwiseinc.com.

Another way to reduce lunchtime waste is to use reusable structured containers including jars, multi-use plastic tubs, or glass reusable containers.

Items like applesauce can be put in a small container while salads can go in a tall jar.

Even items for younger children served in pouches can be made more sustainable.

Several companies on Amazon sell reusable food pouches that can have things like applesauce, yogurt, fruit purees and more added into them. The pouches can be washed out and reused multiple times, eliminating the waste from single-use food pouches.

Take along silverware from home to wash and reuse while carrying your food in a reusable bag to make your daily lunch a little more sustainable.

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