To emphasize the amount of waste being creating from your students lunch, you may consider introducing the Boomerang Lunch. Every piece of garbage created at lunch is placed back into the students lunch bag and returned home. The waste can then be sorted and disposed of properly at home, if it can't first be reused.
You can download the Boomerang Lunch Resource (pdf).
A boomerang is a curved piece of wood that when properly thrown will return to the thrower. A boomerang lunch is a lunch that has every piece of it return to its source. In other words, everything in the lunch goes back home at the end of the day. No matter if it is leftover food, containers, recyclables or garbage, it all goes back. Yes, even the garbage.
- To increase awareness of the amount of waste created in one day’s lunch
- To encourage the use of reusable containers
- To discourage the use of disposable containers
Consider having a Boomerang Lunch in your class!
- Send a letter home to parents regarding the upcoming Boomerang Lunch, with exact date (Download an example letter (pdf)).
- Explain to students the purpose of the Boomerang Lunch.
- Have the Boomerang Lunch
- You may want to remove garbage containers from the room during the lunch
- You may choose to turn the containers upside down and place a reminder note on them
- You may want to ask students what should be done with the garbage cans, to remove any “temptations”.
There are classes and schools in the province that do not collect any lunch garbage from students. There are also field trip centres that do not collect any garbage at all from visiting classes. In these areas it is common practice that everyone take out what they bring in. It is a process that may take some adjustment, but is very feasible. (See some stories in the resources below)
If your one-time Boomerang Lunch is a success, you may consider another. Try to increase the frequency of the lunches as they become more popular. Once students and parents become familiar with the process, it may become more of a habit to bring lunches with less waste. Also consider some waste reduction activities to use in class, to encourage students to not only take their lunch garbage home with them, but also attempt to reduce their production of garbage, at lunch and throughout the rest of the day.
- Ontario document “Ready Set Green! – Tips, Techniques, and Resources from Ontario Educators” (2001) (page 37 #28) Morrish Public School of the Toronto District School Board suggested the Boomerang Lunch.
- Ontario EcoSchools Waste Free Lunch Ideas includes sample letters to send home, including tips for making waste free lunches.
- The Star article on schools participating in Boomerang and Waste Free Lunches.