At some Canadian schools, paper bag lunches are on the way out. As part of the Ontario EcoSchools initiative, schools are asking parents to cut down on the trash associated with kids’ packed lunches, Co.Exist reports.

Litterless lunch programs are a part of school district policies all across Canada, like in the Calgary school system. The programs ask parents to send their kids to school with lunch boxes, a thermos or reusable water bottle, sandwiches wrapped in cloth, and metal utensils. Ideally, kids shouldn’t be tossing anything in the trash at the end of lunch.

According to the Recycling Council of Ontario’s Waste-Free Lunch Challenge, the average student throws away 66 pounds of trash every school year (not counting food waste), adding up to 18,700 pounds a year for the average elementary school. And while it does cost money to buy reusable containers, by using bulk foods and leftovers to pack kids’ lunches instead of throwing in pre-packaged snacks, you actually end up saving money. Not to mention what you'll probably save on buying plastic baggies. ECOlunchbox, a company that sells reusable containers, estimates that a family with two kids spends about $450 a year on disposable bags, utensils, and other lunch items that just end up in the trash.

[h/t Co.Exist]

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