Written by: Sophie La Roche, Year 13
Thanks to haunting and disturbing images of divers swimming through seas of rubbish, instead of schools of fish, plastic has become public enemy number one.

This is great news for the environment, as we all want to put an end to the tragic news reports of yet another marine creature that has been found dead with a belly full of plastic. However this isn’t the only impact that plastic has on our precious environment, as when plastic is slowly degrading in our landfills (where you may think your rubbish is safe from causing environmental harm) it is releasing methane and ethylene gas, of which methane is 20 times more harmful than carbon dioxide for our atmosphere, leading to an acceleration of climate change.

However, making a change to our plastic consumption as consumers can seem a bit daunting, as these days when you walk into a supermarket, everything you buy seems to be wrapped in plastic. In saying this, there are a few easy ways that you can make a difference.

A great place to start is by looking at your school lunch box – are you eating food that is individually packaged? Is your food contained in something that you will throw away after eating? If you are having a guilty nod to these questions, then a great place to start is by packing your lunch with reusable containers that can be washed out at home and reused.

For example, sandwiches can be put in containers (such as the ones shown here) that are perfect for not only eliminating plastic waste, but they are also great for making sure the sandwich stays intact and isn’t squashed! This is a great and easy way to eliminate the use of single use plastic items like glad wrap.

Another thing to look at in lunch boxes is individually packaged food, such as muesli bars or mini chip packets. To solve this, items of food like chips can be bought in a larger packet, and then have a handful of chips from this larger packet each day in a small container. This method obviously is still producing some rubbish, however it is a lot less than throwing out a packet each day. For muesli bars, home-baking (such as this easy recipe here) is a great option as you can make a large batch that will last you for 2 weeks (or less if you decide they are quite delicious!)

Another advantage to home-baking your muesli bars is that you will most likely be eating less sugar, so home-baking is a win for both your health and the environment! The muesli bars can be put into a small container in your lunch box, so it is still a quick and easy thing to pack for your lunch.

These few simple ideas can be extended to solve a variety of plastic waste issues in your lunch box. If everyone makes a small effort in reducing their daily consumption of plastic, our world will be much better off in the future!