Do Your Homework and Cut Down on Your Back to School Waste

Date released: Aug 21 2012

Do Your Homework and Cut Down on Your Back to School Waste

The EPA’s Stop Food Waste Programme is encouraging all parents to do their homework when getting their children ready for back to school. They are calling on parents to start the school year with a clean slate and rethink how to plan and prepare their children’s lunches.

The back to school period represents a very expensive time of the year for families, with research showing the average cost for a child entering primary school now stands at €400 . With parents keen to keep costs down and find value-for-money lunchbox options, it can be annoying when left over lunches arrive home at the bottom of school bags. Throwing away uneaten lunches is a waste of money but luckily the Stop Food Waste programme has put together some tips for parents on how to avoid food waste when it comes to school lunches, and save money in the process.

Before you start planning your child’s school lunches, Odile Le Bolloch, spokesperson for Stop Food Waste at the EPA, suggests being more aware of what comes home in your child’s lunch box.

We all want to ensure that our children eat a healthy and filling lunch, but they are out of our control at school, so it’s important to keep an eye on what comes home in the child’s lunchbox. Throwing away uneaten food is an unnecessary waste of money and can be avoided. Looking at leftover lunches is a great way to get information about your children’s lunch preferences. Talk to your child and understand what works for them and what doesn’t. said Odile.

Instead of binning uneaten lunches, try using the following tips:

  • Let your kids be part of the lunch planning process. This will ensure that what you prepare is something they like to eat.
  • Ask children how much time they have to eat their lunch, so as to avoid half-eaten sandwiches that children leave behind in favour of time in the playground.
  • Consider making a list of food your child likes to eat for lunch. This list can be kept on the fridge and can be added to by your child.
  • Small sized fruit are a great idea as they cut back on waste and pose less of a challenge to small children and take less time to eat.
  • Instead of throwing away dinner leftovers, re-use them for lunches the next day.
  • Pack drinks in reusable containers and send a small amount to school in a reusable container with your child each day.
  • Finally, before offering your child an after school snack, check to see if they have finished their lunch.

So before making your child’s lunch, think about the above tips to ensure you save as much money as you can and to cut back on food waste.

The StopFoodWaste website has lots more tips.

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Additional Information

About The STOP Food Waste Programme
The STOP Food Waste programme is funded under the EPA National Waste Prevention Programme (NWPP). Waste Prevention is the preferred waste management option in Ireland. By not generating waste, we can eliminate the need to handle, transport, treat and dispose of waste. We can also avoid having to pay for these services. In light of the significant issues arising from the disposal of food waste, and the realisation of the costs associated with this, the NWPP Prevention Plan 2009-2012 set out to promote food waste prevention and home composting.

For further information or to request an interview or additional images contact the STOP Food Waste Press Office at Hill + Knowlton Strategies

Catherine Walsh or Leah Mullally
Tel: 01 6690030 / 087 268 9532 (Catherine) / 087 759 3710 (Leah)
Email: Catherine.Walsh@hkstrategies.ie/ leah.mullally@hkstrategies.ie