TRASH TALK— Zero Waste Lunch

South San Francisco, CA  August 21, 2023

Submitted by Teresa Montgomery, Chamber Board Member and Sustainability Manager at SSF Scavenger,

and Adrienne Etherton, Sustainability Manager at City of Brisbane

Do you pack lunches for yourself or other members of your family? If you do, please challenge yourself to pack items that won’t create unnecessary waste. Here are a few tips:


  • Invest in durable reusable basics. For example, a metal lunchbox and water bottle, fabric napkins, and stainless-steel utensils.


  • Use washable, refillable containers. Avoid packing food in plastic bags, plastic wrap, wax paper, or foil.


  • Buy in bulk. Single-serving juice boxes, yogurt tubes, chip bags, carrots, trail mix, and similar are over-packaged in materials that are unlikely to be recyclable.


  • Pack reasonable portions and use an ice pack if needed. This will reduce the chance of food going uneaten.


If eating in a cafeteria or restaurant, or ordering takeout, there are other choices you can make that reduce waste. Consider these:


  • Patronize restaurants that serve food and beverages in reusable containers or that allow you to bring your own.


  • Avoid establishments that serve food in disposable Styrofoam/styrene or plastic containers that are not compliant with the Disposable Food Service Ware Ordinance [details at].


  • Say no to disposable cups, straws, utensils, and to-go boxes. Bring reusables.


Thank you for working to reduce waste. Your efforts make a difference!




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Jeffrey Tong
30 days ago

Manufacturers need to produce fewer plastic containers – period! We once bought milk and sodas in thick durable glass bottles, which were returned to the store to be reused.

I advocate a REUSABLE RENNAISANCE with dental floss in a reusable glass bottle as the catalyst.