Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Bring Your Lunch to Work

Bringing your lunch to work is one way to lower your impact on the environment. It can have other advantages too. Every day that I don’t have a lunch appointment, I bring my lunch to work.

There are several ways bringing a lunch reduces my environmental impact:

  • I stay in the office, thus I don’t burn gasoline driving to a restaurant. A trip to the nearest restaurants involves about 4 to 5 mile round trip drive. I save about one gallon of gas per week which reduces my CO2 emissions by 20 pounds and I also avoid putting other tail pipe pollutants into the air.
  • Using reusable containers and an insulated lunch box reduces wastes from plastic lunch bags and paper sacks. I just used a couple of paper towels as a napkin and to clean my containers after lunch. My waste is much lower than that of a typical fast food meal with all its throw away papers bags, cups, wrappers and napkins. Many of these items are made from Styrofoam or plastics which increases their environmental impact.

Some of the other advantages of eating lunch at work include

  • Saving money. My lunches cost less to make than a typical fast food meal. I save even more over a full service restaurant. I am also not using gasoline to drive to a restaurant. I probably save $25 a week by bringing my lunch.
  • I eat healthier. Most fast food meal are low in nutrition and contain much more salt (sometimes double or more -- see A Calorie Counter) than we need for our daily intake. Excess salt can lead to high blood pressure. I usually include fruits and vegetable plus some walnuts and almonds with my lunch. I can also limit the portions so I don’t over eat.
  • I have time for a short walk which provides exercise and helps clear my mind so I am ready for an afternoon of work.

I often have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich (PB&J) with my lunch. Lately I replaced my PB&J with peanut butter on a celery stick as an even healthier alternative. I didn’t realize that eating a PB&J may be better for the environment then eating a burger until I learned about The PB&J Campaign. By replacing a hamburger with a PB&J you can reduce of carbon dioxide emissions by approximately 2.5 pounds and reduce water consumption to produce the food by about 280 gallons.

I also have an slightly off topic thought to share regarding a few good weight loss tips by Dr. Mao: Dr. Mao’s New Year's Weight Loss: 6 Tips. Weight loss is not directly an environmental issue. But by not eating more food than we require, we will reduce our impact on the environment.

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