Packing your lunch: Zero waste style

My twelve-month sabbatical is coming to an end soon (June 30); it’s amazing how quickly twelve months can go by. It was a nice treat to be at home to enjoy lunch, but I always make it a habit to pack my lunch to work. As a vegan, I find that there are very few lunch options in my workplace, as at most, I might find a vegetarian option, but one that invariably has cheese. A salad at one of the vendors on campus costs $8, which is overpriced.

This post discusses the health benefits of taking lunch to work every day. The author provides the nuitrition breakdown of what might appear to be healthy choices and vendors, but shows how much sugar or fat they might contain. I find, too, that it’s frustrating to wait in the long queues to buy any food; further, take out food generates a large amout of waste.

On days in which I take home-made soup to work, I pack it in a thermos, as I don’t like plastic containers, even if they are BPA free. We do have a microwave in the office, so I could heat the soup there, if necessary. I have a ceramic soup bowl at the office, together with a set of stainless steel travel cutlery. I have access to a sink at the office, so I can wash my plates and utensils there. I bought the Thermos below from Home Outfitters, only in a beautiful shade of chocolate brown.  The Onyx utensil was purchased from P’Lovers, an environmental store in Halifax:

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In addition to the soup, I will take some locally-made bread, which I carry in a Preserve sandwich container, made from recycled plastic, and PBA free, bought from Home Sense:

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On soupless days, I will have a home-made salad, which includes greens, an assortment of vegetables, a grain (quinoa, rice, kamut, or bulgur), and a legume (chickpeas, lentils, kidney beans, and so forth). I store the salad in a lidded Life Without Plastic stainless steel bowl, and pack the dressing in a smaller container. I purchased the bowl from P’Lovers, and the Swissmar dressing container from Home Outfitters. I have a glass water bottle in my office, which came from a Chemistry laboratory on campus that sold off its supplies. It’s not a bottle from which one can drink directly, which is fine by me, as I always prefer drinking from a glass.

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I carry my lunch in a Lug lunch tote. Lug is a Canadian product, whose products are available in many retailers. The tote isn’t big enough to carry both the thermos and the stainless steel bowl, so I use a cloth napkin. I wash out my containers at the office sink, and use a cloth tea towel to dry them. The napkins and towels are laundered at home.

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I make my coffee at work. I grind my beans at home, as I like fresh coffee. I use a Bodum French press, and use locally-made ceramic mugs. When I’m teaching, I carry my coffee to class in a stainless steel mug, which I bought from a Second Cup retailer. The only time I purchase coffee on campus is if I’m taking a break with a colleague.

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