While many people are concerned about the amount of plastic in the environment, few people adopt habits to reduce plastic pollution levels. Much of our waste is generated by the food and drinks we consume away from home.
Switching single-use plastics with eco-friendly products for the home can hugely reduce your carbon footprint but it's also important to reduce plastic waste when you’re out, at work, or on vacation. Packaging from food and drink items bought on the go, such as bottled drinks, take away coffee and ready-made lunches, are some of the most common plastic items found in the ocean.
Choosing eco-friendly food products and packaging instead of disposable containers will reduce plastic pollution, improve your health, and keep the oceans clean.
Here are 10 eco-friendly products that you can use on your lunch break every day.
10 Eco-friendly Products to Use on Your Lunch Break
Reusable Water Bottle
Millions of plastic water bottles are produced every year and most are not recycled. Instead, bottles are buried in landfills where they slowly release toxic chemicals. Otherwise, they end up littered in natural areas, clogging sewers and waterways or polluting the oceans. Plastic bottles also increase your chances of consuming microplastics. Take an eco-friendly stainless-steel water bottle every time you go out and you'll never need to buy another single-use bottle. A 500 ml FLASKE Bottle costs just under €30 and keeps your drinks hot or cold for hours.
Reusable Shopping Tote & Grocery Bag
Plastic bag bans aren't new. The law that requires consumers to pay for plastic shopping bags has already helped reduce the use of plastic bags in Europe. However, some of us still get caught out on a lunchtime shop, particularly when shopping for loose fruits and vegetables. To avoid plastic bags entirely, make sure you always have a cotton tote, and a couple of reusable mesh bags tucked into your day bag or jacket pocket.
Stainless Steel Straw
Many businesses are already phasing out plastic straws, and some governments have put in place plans that will prevent food and drinks businesses from providing non-biodegradable straws for customers. If your local café is still supplying single-use straws, or you just prefer to drink from a straw, come prepared with a reusable stainless-steel straw that you can wash after each use.
Insulated Lunch Box
The simplest way to avoid plastic takeaway containers and packets on your lunch break is to make your lunch at home and take it to work in an insulated lunch box. The FLASKE Food Pot is insulated for hot and cold foods and suitable for any type of food; from rice and curry to fruit salad or hearty winter soups. Even if you're not much of a cook, an insulated lunch box can help you reduce waste. Try asking the staff at your local takeaway to put your meal in your insulated lunch box instead of a disposable container.
Also Read: 5 foods to put in a thermal lunch box
Wax Food wraps
Clingfilm is another everyday item that's super convenient but not biodegradable. Instead of wrapping your lunch in plastic, buy a set of reusable beeswax food wraps. In case you're unfamiliar with beeswax food wraps; they're essentially cotton squares of various sizes coated with beeswax. You can also get Vegan versions made with plant-based wax and tree resin. Wax wraps are flexible, naturally adhesive, and washable (in cold water). They're also great for covering bowls and plates so you can use this eco-friendly product at home too.
Reusable Travel Cutlery
Another of the most common items that pollute the oceans is disposable plastic cutlery. Because these items are small and sharp, they're particularly dangerous to wildlife. Put a reusable bamboo cutlery set in your bag, and you won't ever need to use disposable knives, forks or spoons again. Who likes to eat from flimsy plastic cutlery anyway? A bamboo cutlery set barely takes up any space, but consider a stainless-steel spork if you want something smaller.
Travel Coffee Mug
Disposable coffee cups are another environmental nightmare. Even paper coffee mugs have plastic linings and the lids are rarely biodegradable. Mother nature with thank you for using a travel coffee mug on your lunch break, and so will your wallet. With an insulated coffee mug, you have the option to prepare your own lunchtime beverage or buy a takeaway drink from your favourite coffee haunt. FLASKE's 350 ml Travel Coffee Mug has double-wall insulation that will keep your coffee hot for up to 12 hours and your iced-tea cold for up to 24 hours.
Reusable or Biodegradable Coffee Filters
Thanks to cheap coffee machines, it's possible to have a coffee in your office that's almost as good as the americano from your local barista. Unfortunately for the environment, most compact coffee machines use non-biodegradable filters or plastic-wrapped single-serving pods. To enjoy fresh filter coffee and specialty coffees on your lunch break without producing extra waste, bring your own reusable coffee filter or refillable coffee pods to work. And, if you can't avoid using disposable filters, make sure they’re biodegradable or compostable. To reduce waste, you can make a whole pot of coffee to share around the office instead of a single serving. Alternatively, store the leftover coffee in an insulated coffee mug.
Loose Leaf Tea Infuser
Many brands of instant tea bags contain plastic and are, therefore, non-biodegradable. Additionally, single-serving tea bags are often individually packaged in plastic. If you prefer tea to coffee, a loose-leaf tea infuser is an eco-friendly product that you can keep at work or in your day bag.
Biodegradable Trash Bags
Although you're unlikely to fill a whole trash bag with the waste from your lunch, you can investigate what trash bags are used in your office's kitchen or canteen. Regular trash bags take hundreds of years to break down, whereas biodegradable or compostable trash bags will decompose within months. If your office uses regular trash bags, why not suggest an eco-friendly alternative to your boss?
Also Read: 6 tips to make your office more eco-friendly
Disposable plastic products and other single-use items used to package takeaway foods take a significant toll on the environment. Consuming goods from plastic packaging may also be harming your health. Our suggestions for eco-friendly products to use on your lunch break, when you're out and about, or at home will help you ditch plastic for good. Why not encourage your friends, family and colleagues to do the same?For more inspiration, read our 30 top tips for going zero-waste with FLASKE.