SANTA ANA, Calif. (October 21, 2009) –OC Waste & Recycling wants Orange County schools and families to make lunchtime waste reduction a priority this year. The County wants students and parents to follow waste reduction and reuse practices that will help save money and the environment.
“We want to teach both parents and children simple techniques for packing lunches with little to no trash while promoting a healthier lifestyle,” said Isabel Rios, Manager of Environmental and Recycling Programs at OC Waste & Recycling. “By encouraging waste reduction in schools, we can eliminate hundreds of pounds of trash a day. Families also save money when they pack their lunches.”
According to Wastefreelunches.org, a family can save an average of $250 a year per child by packing an eco-friendly lunch. Additionally, on average, a school age child that uses a disposable lunch generates 67 pounds of waste per school year. That equates to 18,760 pounds of lunch waste for just one average-size elementary school.
Packaging such as plastic bags, aluminum foil, juice boxes and individual pudding cups are just a few contributors to avoidable lunchtime waste. Here are a few simple steps families can take to reverse this waste cycle:
- Don’t brown-bag. Instead, use lead-free reusable lunch bags, food containers, utensils and cloth napkins.
- Buy big and divide. Avoid individually packed snacks. Recycle any excess packaging left at home.
Local schools are already making an effort to reduce waste. Plaza Vista Elementary in Irvine started a Green Team that collects recyclables from the cafeteria and classrooms each week. “Our recycling program is successful because it has shown our students the value of diverting waste from our landfills,” says Principal Heather Phillips of Plaza Vista School in Irvine. Nelson Elementary School in Tustin used to throw away more than 100 cardboard trays per day during breakfast and lunch. Parent volunteers now take the trays to a recycling facility near the school. “All 600 students are committed to recycling the trays that our school lunches produce,” says Principal John Laurich of Nelson Elementary. “This is approximately 200 pieces a day that will not go into the landfills.” Packing a waste-free lunch can save money and make a powerful impact on improving the environment.
About OC Waste & Recycling
OC Waste & Recycling manages one of the nation’s premiere solid waste disposal systems serving 34 cities and over three million residents. On behalf of local residents and businesses, OC Waste & Recycling has developed a solid waste management system composed of a network of three active landfills and four household hazardous waste collection centers.
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