packing a zero waste lunch.

When I started trying to reduce the amount of trash I made, I found that the biggest area of waste was in the kitchen. A takeout meal creates a lot of trash in the span of half an hour: non-recyclable styrofoam containers, disposable utensils and the plastic bag they're wrapped in, paper napkins, a plastic straw. For this and other reasons (health, pursestrings, convenience, yumminess), I bring my lunch to work daily. 

Here's how to make it zero waste (it's sooo easy!):

-Purchase a large reusable container. Or rummage around in the back of your cabinets until you find one. I love this one, which is lightweight and durable - unlike glass, it won't break in your bag or if accidentally dropped. Mine has lasted me for years!

-Bring your own cloth napkin (and utensils, if need be). I wrap my utensils in my napkin and tie it in a knot (see photograph below) - the bundle is easier to keep track of and keeps my silverware clean until I'm ready to use it.

-Overpack. Overestimating how much food you'll need ensures that you won't need to resort to the vending machine at 3pm when hunger rears its head. I always add an extra piece of fruit, just in case: if I don't eat it, I can always bring it home or leave it on my desk for the next day.

-Bring it back. Once emptied, your lunch container can hold all of your food scraps from the day: apple cores, pistachio shells, banana peels, muffin crumbs. Stash these away so you can compost them when you get home.

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These tips also work well for a road trip or plane ride. If I'm traveling somewhere, I'm almost never without a meal packed in this gear - plus, that way I have a fork, napkin, and reusable container handy, which helps me navigate unexpected situations while staying zero waste.