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February 3, 2017 / thegirlwiththedinotattoo

let’s do lunch!

I’ve always been pretty good about bringing my lunch to work since I don’t see the point in paying such a mark up on food every day when I have no idea how it was cooked or how unhealthy the meal really was. This does make it easier to begin with, to reduce the amount of trash I produce during the midday meal, since it’s coming from home to start.

By having just a few key items already on hand and in place makes my work-lunch routine really simple. For starters this is what I have at home:

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This is my lunch bag with two reusable snack baggies, and two of my three knot wraps from Lush. They all get stored in the little basket, on top of my microwave so they’re nice and out of the way. This removed the majority of the waste in my lunch routine, and was actually how I got started on being obsessed  with reducing my trash. Since I brought any and all food and snacks to work, I was going through a lot of zip-lock baggies, and even though I’d try to wash and reuse them, it was really wearing on me how many I was throwing away. Then I discovered the whole zero-waste movement, and it’s all down landfill from there. Don’t judge me and my terrible jokes. There’s a reason comments are open to the public.

So anyways, I have two types of baggies: one zippers closed (Planet Wise) and the other has velcro (SAV-UR-SAC). I personally like the bag material of the velcro one better, but the zippered one does keep bread products fresher. I bought both off Amazon, and get ready to be amazed at the amount of designs made for small children. I mean, it’s great that parents are getting their kids on board, but I’m trying to look semi-professional here eating my cereal out of a whale baggie (which I actually really do love).

The knot wraps are great for large sandwiches, keeping fruit from bruising, or even just grouping together the items that don’t all fit into my lunch bag. While any piece of material or scarf would really do, I love the knot wraps because not only are they made from recycled water bottles (yes!) but that means that they actually aren’t that absorbent and won’t leave little cotton threads on my sandwich. They definitely won’t keep something from leaking all over the place, but since I then use them as my napkins at lunch, they’re not all gross to later wrap up stuff to bring home.

Here’s a quick demo on how I typically use them: place, tuck, roll, tie!

Look, I even tried to tie a cute bow tie at the end! Don’t worry, I’m keeping my day job. Lush does have some great videos and tutorials for how to make them look great and to use them to wrap gifts, how to wear them, and other super versatile ideas.

So besides the cloth items, I also have on hand a bunch of plastic containers (tupperware knock offs), take-out containers, and used gelato containers that I’ve found are each great for bringing salads, fruit, and leftovers for lunch. While I’m not crazy about plastic, these are a light weight way to transport my lunch if I’ve got several items to bring. If I end up with a take-out container from a restaurant, I’d rather re-use it until it’s no good before I send it to recycling.

I also have a few glass Pyrex containers which I save for those items that will be heated up for lunch, as well as mason jars for soup. I replaced the metal lids, since those were quite frustrating to open, with plastic ones. Again, I try to replace the plastic in my home in most instances, but if it means I’ll actually use the item more than once and not go insane from trying to open the friggin’ thing, then I figure the plastic makes more sense in this scenario.

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Mason jars are perfect for soups since they don’t leak during transport. And those gelato containers are the best for orange slices, grapes, etc. Why waste them by just sending them straight to recycling?! And yes, I’ve also had the local ice cream shop put a large serving in that container, and brought it home to eat for the week. Refillable ice cream anyone?

Once I get to work, I’ve made sure that I have everything I need there already, so there’s no forgetting a knife or whatnot.

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These are all items I’ve found at the thrift store (and washed of course, don’t you wash your dishes?).  I just pour out my soup from the mason jar, or left over risotto from the plastic container onto the plate, and I’m ready to heat and eat in style!

Yes, this does make more work for me since I then have to wash my dishes and utensils after I’ve eaten, but who doesn’t want an excuse to stand up and walk to the kitchen for a few minutes in the middle of the afternoon? And the extra water from washing the dishes? Still far less than making a new plastic bag or saran wrap, etc which will just be thrown out after one use.

And all these containers make it super easy to toss the apple core back in one of them and bring home to compost! Just don’t forget it in your desk drawer over the weekend, the co-workers won’t enjoy the fruit flies…

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