Zoo News

Nov 13, 2017

Simple Lunchtime Tips To Help Protect The Environment

By Caitlyn Bruce

Here at the Buffalo Zoo, part of our mission is to be a leader in inspiring others to respect, protect and restore natural habitats for wildlife. With last week being Polar Bear Week it was a great time to be extra conscious of energy consumption and waste production.  Here at the zoo, employees were invited to participate in a “zero waste lunch” challenge for every day that they worked this week. Zero waste lunches are exactly what they sound like, packing a lunch where you have no trash to throw away when you’re done, just compostables such as apple cores or fruit peels.

But it doesn’t need to be Polar Bear Week for you to take action to help these iconic symbols of the Arctic!

Here are few helpful hints for everyone to use so you too could have waste-free lunches, not only this week but the rest of the year as well:


-Use a reusable lunch box/bag instead of a disposable paper/plastic bag. This not only reduces waste, but they are much more durable, can fit more inside… and they can come in fun patterns!

-If possible, buy lunch items from the bulk department or larger sized containers instead of single-use items and then use smaller reusable containers to transport them to work/school. This works well for snack food items likes chips and cookies as well as yogurt, cottage cheese, applesauce, cereals, etc. This will not only reduce waste but will save you money as well.

-To cut down on the number of items you need to pack every day, keep a reusable plate, bowl, cup, and silverware at work that you can just wash and store away there until the next day.

-If you typically bring a granola bar, candy bar, packaged muffin or can of soup, see if you can come up with homemade alternatives. Home cooked items are usually healthier than prepackaged ones!

-Bring a reusable water bottle, cup or thermos for drinks.

-A lot of fresh fruits and vegetables already come in their own “packaging”. After you’re done, you can compost whatever part you don’t eat.

-Although we always encourage everyone to recycle, recycling still isn’t a “zero waste” practice. Even when you recycle items, there can still be badly designed products or packaging that waste energy, water, and other scarce resources. Even the recycling process itself requires energy. It’s a better practice to avoid the use of items that need to be recycled and instead opt for items that can be reused over and over. If that’s not possible though, recycling is always a better option than sending items to a landfill!


This list only has a few of the many easy things you can do to either go waste-free or at least reduce the amount of waste you produce all year round!

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