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Re: [greenyes] waste-free lunches
I agree that it's best to get the school involved. (That's why we've posted
our resources at!) There are other factors involved
as well, such as the size of the school, the level of adult supervision in
the lunch area, and the extent to which the school has put lunchtime
procedures in place. For example, at some schools students have to pick up a
certain amount of trash before being dismissed, or they need to show an
adult that their place has been cleaned. In these schools, an adult can more
easily see that a container or spoon has been left behind. Education and
follow-through are also important factors.

Another important factor is "ownership." In many cases, if the child feels
that the containers belong to him or her, then the child will be more likely
to take care of them. I recently read a survey conducted at a school in
Livermore, CA. In one class, each student was given a Laptop Lunch container
(a reusable lunch container, shaped like a laptop, that comes with a fork
and spoon -- The pieces fit together like a puzzle,
so it's easy to see when something is missing. Somehow it's different from
taking lunch to school in Tupperware containers.) At the end of the year,
all of the parents who responded to the survey said that their child brought
home their containers and utensils. I don't know much about the school
culture or the age of the children, but this does offer hope.

I appreciate your comments about site credibility, Roger. (I'm a one-woman
self-taught hunt & peck html show with a budget of zero which, I'm sure is
completely obvious when you look at the quality of the site. However, I just
wanted to get the information up on the site as soon as possible for those
interested in implementing waste-free lunch programs. Now that it's up and
running, I'll strive to make it more credible and user-friendly. Thanks for
your feedback! (BTW, there is a time stamp at the bottom of each page.)


Amy Hemmert
Santa Cruz, CA

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Heide Feldman" <hfeldman@no.address>
To: "Lyman-Onkka, Cathi" <Cathi.Lyman-Onkka@no.address>; "Roger
Guttentag" <rgutten@no.address>; "Amy Hemmert" <mhemmert@no.address>;
Sent: Tuesday, July 01, 2003 9:25 AM
Subject: RE: [greenyes] waste-free lunches

I think the "Zero Waste" lunch concept works best if it becomes the
culture at the school, or at least in the classroom.  If your child
isn't one of the few to bring their food in containers, and eating
healthy food, they don't feel singled out. Also, the teachers and other
adults can assist with reminders and getting the containers back in the
lunch boxes.  I think the website is helpful in that we can all make use
of the info to distribute to local schools.  I was planning to do that
anyway for this fall, so it's very handy.
I will encourage schools to hold a contest between classrooms to see who
will have the least amount of waste.  We'll see how it goes!
Heidi Feldman
Public Education Coordinator

-----Original Message-----
From: Lyman-Onkka, Cathi [mailto:Cathi.Lyman-Onkka@no.address]
Sent: Tuesday, July 01, 2003 6:02 AM
To: 'Roger Guttentag'; Amy Hemmert; greenyes@no.address
Subject: RE: [greenyes] waste-free lunches

Roger, Amy, and others, I also have children (now an adults) who were
to get reusable containers back home. There is hope for the future -
are now avid "reusers". But I had to give up on their lunches - there
was no
way we could afford to continually restock our container supply. They
what I did with my own lunches and what we practiced at home, and that
became their practice in life, even though the lunches for school were a
losing proposition.
Good luck to all of you who struggle with this.!
(I agree with Amy's comments about site credibility.)
 -----Original Message-----
From: Roger Guttentag [mailto:rgutten@no.address]
Sent: Tuesday, July 01, 2003 10:49 AM
To: Amy Hemmert; greenyes@no.address
Subject: Re: [greenyes] waste-free lunches

Dear Amy:

I think you are focusing on a very helpful issue - one that I struggle
daily as a parent of a 7 year old.

First I have several suggestions for enhancing the credibility of your

    - Identify who is the sponsor of this site and the sources of the
information used for this site.
    - Provide some information on the sponsor's credentials (even if its
just that you are an environmentally active mom)
    - Time stamp the site's content (Last updated when?)

Now for my comments:

First, I think you underestimate the significant obstacle of getting
reusable containers and items.  Older children may be to handle this
responsibility but I believe that getting back reusable items reliably
younger children is much harder.  I have lost a lot of reusable items
the cost can add up quickly.  I am lucky to get back my cool packs.  I
sure that lots of list subscribers will of course repond that they have
young children who have been trained from the age of 2 to return
that is reusable or recyclable.  My response is - that's great -
yourself fortunate.  I am convinced that my child does not have a
gene (and I know I am not alone in feeling this way) and , as most know
parents know, there are only so many fights you can have with your child
any one time. However, this is a battle I plan to wage when she is
However, I would appreciate other parental insights into this particular

Second, there are times when I buy products in non-reusable / recyclable
packaging because they involve products that I want to support - usually
organic foods.  An example are Fruit Squeezies which is organic
in a tube made by Walnut Acres  ).  It's a product I can
feel reasonably good about giving to my child, she likes it and gets use
eating foods that have some nutritional value and I am providing support
with my consumer dollars to companies that rely on organic food
[Also, I use like this product after having experienced what it's like
open a lunch container that been in the sun all day with the contents of
open container of partially eaten apple sauce that is spread over
(again, I have tried many types of reusable containers and I am also
convinced that my child doesn't have the "close the container correctly"
gene).  Again, I am sure that many subscribers to this list will claim
to have these problems because they have children who have demonstated
dexterity of safe crackers since the age of 2.  Again, consider yourself
fortunate and keep in mind that no every household is blessed like

So, the bottom line is that I don't think going from a "wasteful" to a
"waste-free" lunch is a simple, cost-free, hassle-free process of


Roger M. Guttentag

----- Original Message -----
From: Amy Hemmert <mhemmert@no.address>
To: <greenyes@no.address>
Sent: Monday, June 30, 2003 2:18 PM
Subject: [greenyes] waste-free lunches

> I have been collecting information about waste-free lunches and have
> it at for people interested in learning more
> how to implement or participate in a waste-free lunch program. We have
> included sample letters to parents and teachers, information on
> trash audits, examples of salvaged/recycled art projects, composting
> where to purchase waste-free lunch kits, success stories from across
> America, and links to other waste-free lunch sites.
> If you are involved in a waste-free lunch program and have a success
> to share, or if you have a site that you think we should link to,
> email the information to me at webmaster@no.address
> Thanks for helping us make a difference!
> Amy Hemmert
> Santa Cruz, CA
> ---------------------------------------------------------------------
> To unsubscribe, e-mail: greenyes-unsubscribe@no.address
> For additional commands, e-mail: greenyes-help@no.address

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