Guest Blog: Indie is the new Green by Jessica Gonacha – Greening Lunch for Back to School!

by guest contributor Jessica Gonacha

For many of you, August means back to school time, whether for yourselves or for your wee ones. What better time to learn a little about ways to make your lunches more eco-friendly?

Reusable ‘Don’t forget me’  lunch bag from Miss Natalie.

Here are a few simple tips, courtesy of Greenopia for how to eco-fy your school lunches:

The average school-age child who packs a lunch for school generates 67 pounds of waste per school year. That works out to 18,760 pounds of lunch waste for just one average-size elementary school… so what can families do to reduce that waste?  Here are a few tips for packing a greener lunchbox this fall:

1. Replace paper napkins with cloth versions.

2. Pack stainless-steel utensils instead of using disposable plastics.

3. Use reusable drink containers instead of disposable juice boxes, juice pouches, cans, and plastic bottles.

4. Avoid using plastic wraps, plastic bags, wax-paper bags, and aluminum foil – opt for reusable containers and wrappers instead.

5. Cut down on packaging waste by purchasing foods in larg containers rather than buying those individual serving-sized packaged products.

6. Choose lunch boxes or backpacks over paper or plastic bags.

Now that you’re all excited about getting some new lunch gear, here are some pretty cool options to make the switch to eco-friendliness quick and easy:


1. Glue & Glitter’s lunch kits are pretty much the cutest things around. They come with utensils, napkins, a utensil wallet, and a stainless steel lunch container.


2. Laptop Lunches‘  sweet little lunch boxes are Japanese bento-style. With compartments for separate reusable containers that fit snugly inside, they make plastic baggies totally unnecessary.


3. Cascade Lemonade’s do-it-yourself lunch bag kits are a great way to get your kids involved in creating their own adorable lunch bags! The kits come with everything you’ll need to create a charming little lunch bag that your child will be proud to tote to school.


4. Ones and Zeros Fashions’ Lunch Monsters are just too cute! Watch they don’t eat your lunch though!


5. With Chic Boutique’s Super Sacks no one will know that you are carrying your lunch.  Plus, you can use it as a regular bag or market tote.


6. Made by Molly also makes lunch totes with a little more fashion savvy.

7.  And if you’re extra inspired and you’d like to start a waste-free program at a school or place of employment, is the site to visit. It is a wealth of information and includes downloadable slide shows and pamphlets that you can share with others.

GREEN CHALLENGE: Make your own lunch bag, and USE IT! Photograph the creative ways you’ve reused and reduced your lunch waste. Post your photos to the Indie is the New Green flickr group!

About the contributor: Jessica Gonacha is an artist from Atlanta, Georgia who is endlessly creating. Her work includes paintings, drawings, illustrations, and paper goods and is vibrant, colorful, and charming. Her work can be found on her site, in her Etsy shop and in the Indie Fixx Shop. You can also read more about Jessica and her work on her blog.


  1. I have a friend whose son takes a laptop lunch to school with him every day– it’s great! The little containers are the perfect size to pack practically anything you could want.

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