Good for Pocket Book

Families waste hundreds of dollars and create thousands of pieces of trash at lunchtime.

Would you like to save hundreds of dollars for your family every year and avert thousands of pieces of trash?

The results of a study by ECOlunchbox show that a typical family wastes about $450 on throw-aways - and creates thousands of pieces of garbage at lunchtime unnecessarily every year. 

“We know green lunches are healthy for people and the planet, but the results of our study strongly show that our pocketbooks are big winners, too,” says Sandra Harris, president and founder of ECOlunchbox. "No matter how you look at it, going waste-free at lunchtime is a big winner."

In a Lunch Waste Study analyzing the cost of disposable lunchware, ECOlunchbox has examined the difference between packing throw-aways and single-serving foods versus buying juice, yogurt and dry snacks in family size quantities and packing these foods in reusable lunch containers.


To figure out what the cost savings of packing waste-free lunches, ECOlunchbox determined the cost of each of the food items when purchased with individual-portion, pre-packaging and without. For example, if a family buys juice boxes the cost per serving is 44 cents compared to 27 cents per serving for juice purchased in a larger bottle and packed for lunch in a reusable drink container.In another example, plastic baggies for sandwiches cost approximately 6 cents each. That's 6 cents that goes into the trash everytime this throw-away is used. Alternately, packing a sandwich in a reusable food container generates no waste and no daily money thrown away into the trash can.

To estimate the cost of wasteful lunch packing, ECOlunchbox calculated that families would likely pack lunches 180 days a year, which is the number of days in a typical school year. Furthermore, ECOlunchbox decided that a "typical family" would consist of 2 children and 1 adult lunch packers.

Please review our study and put on your thinking cap. Do you think your family may be spending hundreds of dollars a year on thousands lunchtime throw-aways? Would it be worthwhile to invest in purchasing a set of reusable plastic-free lunchware to use fo years to come? 

Or maybe our study affirms a journey you've already started? Are you aleady packing waste-free lunching and are already enjoying lunches that are healthy for people, planet and your pocketbook? 

However you pack your lunches, our hope is that this study help you think about your lunch in a new way - in terms of dollars and cents!

Good for People

Plastic-free ECOlunchboxes are BPA-free and phthalate-free.

Doctors and researchers have linked BPA in numerous studies to hormone problems, behavior issues, obesity, cancer, diabetes, and even kidney and heart conditions. 

Chemicals in plastics are perilous to human health because they are endocrine disrupters and hormone mimickers. These toxins are also harmful to the environment because less than 4% of plastics internationally are recycled and the remainder of discarded plastics is put in landfills or lost in the environment and will never biodegrade.


Good for Planet

The best way to reduce garbage is to not create it. A waste-free lunch (sometimes called a litter-less, smart, garbage-less, waste-free, no-garbage or waste-not lunch) means that you have no packaging to throw away when you're done. All you’re left with is apple cores, banana peels and other biodegradable extras.

LUNCH WASTE A typical American school kid generates 67 pounds of discarded lunchbox packaging waste per school year. That’s more than 18,000 pounds annually for an average-size elementary school, which adds up nationwide to more than 1 billion pounds annually. A typical U.S. family using disposibles generates more than 4,000 pieces of lunch trash unnecessarily each year, according to our ECOlunchboxes Lunchbox Waste Study 2010.

ALUMINUM FOIL More than 20 million Hershey's kisses are wrapped with 133 square miles of foil every day.

ALUMINUM AND TIN CANS In the time it takes you to read this sentence, more than 50,000 12-oz. aluminum cans were made.


CHERRY PITS & BANANA PEELS Food debris in a landfill decompose only 25% in the first 15 years (how about composting instead?).

JUICE BOXES Most inorganic trash retains its weight, volume, and form for at least four decades. 

PAPER BAGS AND NAPKINS It is estimated that 17 trees are cut down for every ton of non-recycled paper.

STYROFOAM Nationwide, U.S. citizens throw away 25 billion styrofoam cups every year.

PLASTIC BOTTLES Nationwide, U.S. citizens discard 2-1/2 million plastic bottles every hour.