I know there are some parents who hate litter-less lunches. They hate having to repackage snacks into reusable containers. They hate having to wash bottles. They really don’t want to have to clean backpacks of that miasma made of half-eaten oatmeal cookies and the last three drops left in a juice box sent home for recycling, lest it infect every backpack seam, ruining it forever. I get that.
But then there are those parents like me. I would really, really like to win the argument which ensues every time I insist that the boys put their recess snack into something that won’t immediately be tossed into a garbage afterward. We’ve got snack sized containers coming out of our ears, but the boys won’t use them. Why? Because the containers don’t ever fit into their pockets. Any of them. Ever. If the container goes to school, it usually doesn’t come home (having been abandoned to some far, forgotten corner of the schoolyard) and that makes me testy. That just makes them smile and remind me that I’d only just let them take our snacks in snack bags like everyone else, I wouldn’t be mad, and that just makes me madder.
I thought I was on the higher moral ground, and nary a word of dispute passes my children’s lips when we talk about the consequences of using disposable items on a regular basis. But children, like adults, usually tend to do what’s easiest in the short-term, even when it’s not in their best interest in the long term. I can appeal to their conscience, and they’ve shown me they care about our environment in other ways, but they can’t be convinced to do so during recess.
If our school mandated that only litter-less snacks be brought to school, I’d be thrilled. Over the moon. And I’d also have the upper hand: “It’s not just me who thinks this is a good idea; your school does too. And that’s why you have to bring your snack in a recyclable container”. Success!
It’s an admirable goal, and I know of some schools who have that kind of policy, but I wonder if they don’t just end up with a really large collection of Tupperware-type containers in their lost and found…
…fermenting. Good point.
A school-wide policy can work with enough parents buying into it. Sam’s school, with its emphasis on environmental stewardship, requires litter-less everything (we even had a bring your own plate dinner to try to minimize waste). It’s extra effort, but when everybody (or mostly) does it, especially if the kids know why, it’s okay because they’re doing it together and it’s not a big issue. (And it’s nice to fit in.)
Oh, and I forgot to mention – the first time I saw my mother-in-law dip her hand into the bathroom waste basket to take out recyclables, I think I gasped. Now the toilet’s basically another sink to me…
Why is it when the school says it’s a good idea, our kids are all for it, but when we say it’s a better choice, they scrunch up their little faces