The last few years has seen the introduction of Rubbish Free Lunch days into schools around Australia. Some schools encourage participation in this event one day a week, while others are every school day. The reduction in waste is generally measured and charted for students to see. What a great way to get our kids thinking about ways that they can contribute to a cleaner, greener future for themselves!

And for Mums and Dads, not only does it force us to focus on the packaging we put in our kids lunchboxes, but it forces us to think about the packaging on items we purchase from the supermarket or our local organic grocer. The effect of reducing our consumption and disposal of food packaging on the future of our planet can only be a positive one.


A rubbish free lunch is a one that contains food items with no disposable packaging. All food is provided in reusable containers so that there is no packaging to place in the bin.


1. Use safe reusable food and drink containers.

? Ensure you have a range of different sizes including some that are airtight for items like yoghurt or fruit salads.
? Stainless steel containers are a great option for many reasons, they wont leach toxins into your childrens food, they chill quickly in an insulated lunch bag and stay chilled, and you can draw a picture on them or put a reusable cling sticker on them to make the containers fun for your kids. If you choose to use plastic containers, ensure they are BPA free.

2. Purchase items in bulk.

? Instead of buying the 6 pack of yoghurts with Dora/The Wiggles, purchase a 500g/1kg tub of yoghurt and put individual portions in a liquid-tight container.
? Other items suitable for bulk purchase include dried fruit, biscuits and cheese.

3. Make your own lunch items.

? Homemade items that feature well in a rubbish free lunch include homemade fruit bars and muesli slice, pieces of fruit or a fresh fruit salad, vegetable sticks with homemade dip, a sandwich or a wrap, fresh popcorn, homemade muffins and mini quiches just to name a few.
? By making your own lunch items, you can then purchase the raw ingredients in bulk too – like 5kg of flour in a calico sack instead of 1kg in plastic or paper packaging. And an added bonus of making your own things…its healthier for your kids as there are no preservatives, flavours or colours…just good old fashioned raw ingredients…imagine that!


Take the rubbish free lunch box challenge and give it a go. If your childs school is not already participating in this program, start doing it yourself one day a week and gradually build up to more days as you get more comfortable with it. If youre really enthusiastic, why not join the school P&C committee and suggest the introduction of the idea to your school…now thats an impact!