We’re a fortnight into the school year and I’m already tired of the pressure to provide a healthy, environmentally conscious, organic, attractive lunch which my kids won’t eat because, well, it sucks.
If you’re a parent of school aged kids or pre-schoolers, you’ll know exactly what nude food is – it’s the difference between life and the scalding judgement of the Lunchbox Police. Gone are the days of wrapping a Sunnycrust white bread Vegemite sandwich in enough cling wrap to, well, keep it fresh until the lunch bell rings, and chucking in an Uncle Toby’s muesli bar, an apple, and a juice popper (or a flask of raspberry cordial as I had in primary school) into a brown paper bag.
These days, your Bento Box must be an Instagram-worthy work of art, containing not a scrap of plastic wrap, or a single store bought treat. Kids are not allowed to throw out any form of rubbish at school (some don’t even have bins for crying out loud!), so the school can virtue signal about how so environmentally conscious they are. Except they’re not.
LISTEN: Andrew Daddo still makes his teen’s lunches. Is it endearing, or a parenting fail? He discusses with Holy Wainwright, on our podcast for imperfect parents. Post continues after audio.
It’s all very well to have no rubbish at school, but unless the little compartments (sized perfectly for like, three almonds) in your kid’s lunchbox are filled with only home grown produce, there is rubbish going somewhere. The bag those three almonds came in? The wrapper from the bag of Shapes you emptied into the container? Unfortunately, the environment doesn’t care whether the rubbish gets chucked out at home or at school; it all ends up in the same place.
Also, can those reusable plastic containers really be considered to be environmentally friendly when most kids lose at least three a week, resulting in you just replacing cling wrap on your shopping list with more containers? For kids, those containers are just as disposable as any ziplock baggie, and while I’m no environmental scientist, I imagine they probably take quite some time to break down.