I remember starting 1st grade and being so very excited about my Holly Hobbie lunch box. However, I quickly learned that while I loved the lunch box, I hated the smell and taste of lukewarm milk, even though it was in my beloved Holly Hobbie thermos. (By the way, how much do I LOVE the internet? I love that I can search for my lunch box and be transported back to 1976 with just a click of the mouse.)
I was not alone. In elementary school everyone had a thermos that matched their lunch box. In middle school we switched from lunch boxes to brown bags but most kids still had a thermos. I can't really remember what people had for lunch in high school. I was too lazy to pack my own lunch and would be ravenous by lunch time so I think the hunger pains caused me to not take note of the types of lunches on the tables in the cafeteria. But somewhere along the line, juice boxes took over. A thermos just was not cool. At all.
But I'm bringin' the 70s back, baby! Thermoses all around! I'm tired of buying juice boxes and yogurt drinks and dealing with straws and running out of said drinks. Not to mention all the waste. Do we really need 200 million juice boxes in our landfills? Probably not. Do we now have insulated lunch bags and re-useable ice packs to keep the drinks cold? You bet. (No more lukewarm milk!)
I am now packing waste-free lunches.
The goal is to not pack anything in the kids' lunch boxes that needs to be thrown away or recycled. (Food excluded. I don't see my kids eating bread crusts but I'm not too worried about those since they will biodegrade.) I bought a stainless steel thermos for each kid and invested in Snack Taxi re-useable snack and sandwich bags. (How cute are these fabrics?!) No more plastic/ziploc bags for us! And for really messy snacks (watermelon, salad dressing for dipping, etc.) I invested in some Tupperware.
I was feeling really great about my environmentally-friendly lunch plan until my 5th grader came home from school upset that she didn't have any plastic bags. Excuse me? Apparently the new principal changed the lunchroom policy; students are no longer permitted to get up and go to the trash can. Instead, each person puts their trash into their plastic bag and pushes it to the center of the table and then all the trash gets pushed down to the end of the table where someone dumps it into a trash can.
I told her that she is either going to have to put her waste into someone else's bag OR she is going to have to start eating those bread crusts!