With the new school year fast approaching we want to raise awareness of the issue of litter produced by packed lunches. As an island nation, Malta is particularly vulnerable to the negative impact of litter. In an article recently published it states that the average school child generates approximately 67 pounds (30 kilograms) of waste from lunch packaging each year; this is equivalent to the weight of a large, fully packed suitcase!
At BirdLife Malta we don’t believe that reducing plastic litter comes at an extra cost, in fact it’s the opposite. By reusing plastic containers, bags and bottles you are recycling items which would otherwise go to waste and you will buy less plastic items. This is beneficial for the environment and your groceries bill. Here are some methods to create a ‘litterless’ lunch which will work for adults just as well as with school children.
- Reusable drinks bottle as opposed to single use cartons, plastic bottles and always avoid plastic straws! The British NGO Surfers’ Against Sewage quote ‘A normal plastic bottle may persist for more than 450 years if left on a beach.’
- Reusable lunch containers, such as metal tins or tuppaware instead of single use sandwich packaging or Styrofoam food trays as these a typically non-biodegradable.
- Cutlery from your own kitchen can be washed and reused instead of accepting plastic cutlery. These are also stronger and less likely to break.
- Use cloth napkins which you can wash at home rather than using disposable paper napkins or fresh wipes.
- Fresh fruit grows in nature without the requirement of artificial wrappers. Buy healthy, seasonal snacks instead of pre-packaged food.
On the occasions which your packed lunch might produce litter, please continue your ongoing support by using the correct recycling litterbins as there are many provided around the island.
By Caroline Gittins, Education Assistant at BirdLife Malta