Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Disposable Lunch Bento

Yes, that's right. Disposable. I'm not happy.

A note was sent home to all second grade parents last week requesting that a disposable, yes, a disposable, lunch be provided to all children attending the field trip. I stopped in my tracks as I read and then re-read the letter, which, by the way, was from the principal.

My son is a follower. If the teacher tells him to solve a math problem differently than how I have shown him how to do it (and believe me, I am well qualified to teach the kid math), then he'll do it her way, even if it's longer and cumbersome and despite knowing how to solve it more quickly and efficiently. He argues, "That's the way our teacher wants us to do it!" It's maddening. I get it, but it's still maddening.

Needless to say, when I said, "This is going to be a problem. We don't do disposable lunches," he whined, "But mommy, it HAS to be disposable! The principal's letter said so!" My response was, "Well, I guess I am just going to have to talk to her because I have an issue with this." Unfortunately, with many other things going on this week, I did not get a chance to pursue this with the principal.

In my annoyed state of mind, however, I did the resourceful thing and came up with a satisfactory compromise of recycled and recyclable items for an appropriate outdoor picnic style lunch bento. I reused a recyclable plastic take out food container for the outer box. Inside is a smoked turkey and white american cheese rolled into a tortilla, an apricot, some dried pineapple wedges, edamame, Ritz Bits cheese sandwich crackers, two Thin Mint Girl Scout cookies, two mini peanut butter cups, and a Horizon chocolate milk. He picked out most of the items to be packed, so hopefully he will eat it. I have packed little bentos like these for myself for flights and situations when it's not practical to carry around containers.

The crowning glory didn't make the picture because we were running late for school. I didn't have a paper bag, so I used a page of the Sunday cartoon pages for an inner wrapper that he can use as a placemat and an outer wrapper from a larger spread of the cartoon pages. I taped it all together and fashioned a rolled handle for his lunch "bag", put his name on it, and sent him on his way. As I dropped him off I reminded him that the outer plastic container and the newspaper are both recyclable and he should look for the appropriate bins wherever they have lunch.

Waste generated: one drink box, two small foil and paper wrappers, and a paper napkin. Recyclables: outer container and newspaper wrappers. Although this lunch generated more garbage than I am usually comfortable with, I am sure that it is still far less than most of the other kids. Even if he isn't fully on the bandwagon, at least the kid knows to think about these things.


Jeanine said...

Hat's off to you!! Excellent.

Annelies said...

My son had a field trip as well, where they were "required" to have a disposable lunch. I was so irritated as well - especially since the parents were going to be there anyway, and we could simply put the lunchbox in our backpack. But the way things would go, I would be the only one not following orders. As it turns out, we didn't wind up going on the field trip, but not for that reason. Just wanted to share that I feel your pain in that situation!

rObrak said...

Why would need to use disposables? I think its much better to use a more satisfying lunch box container. Moreover its a field trip, parents need to prepare lots of food so that their kids will not become hungry so if disposables were to use, it would be more difficult to carry it all. Well, when it comes to packed lunches, stainless steel containers are much more safe to use and you can save more with it. The one from Happy Tiffin are all beautifully functional, dishwasher safe, stylish, and 100% BPA free. In fact its very perfect for this kind of events and acivities, you'll have an enjoyable moment while eating together.