Tips for Children

Carry a Lunch Box

How many times have you seen some lunch packaging lingering around on the school yard? If nobody picks it up, it will stay there looking bad until it is washed down the storm drain in the next rain. Water then carries litter to the bay and on to the ocean.

So what is the best way to make sure that trash does not end up in our bay? Not producing any trash in the first place! The next best option is reusing and recycling.

If you do have trash and you cannot recycle it, make sure you put it securely in a trash bin.


Food Packaging Litter Washes into Stormwater

Single-use plastics, like candy wrappers, are a major source of litter, and since our area is very rainy, the litter is washed down storm drains and into streams and the bay.

There's Too Much Plastic in the Ocean

A recent high-quality study found that there is a huge amount of plastic trash in our oceans. This plastic pollution makes our waters unsafe and unsightly.

Plastic Recovered from Dauphin Island Beach by Caitlin Wessel

Plastics Degrade into Microplastics

Some of these microplastics may be too small to see, but they are often eaten by fish and shellfish and other creatures in the water and make them sick.

by Caitlin Wessel

Things You Can Do

Check Your Lunch For Plastic

Try counting the pieces of food wrapping and packaging in your lunch. How could it be wrapped with less stuff that has to be thrown away?

By Loopstation - CC BY-SA 3.0

Reuse Containers You Already Have

There are many containers that the food you eat comes in that you can reuse as sandwich box: you can even put them in the dishwasher! Save the bags of bagels and bread for wrapping your sandwich. If you use re-sealable zipper storage bags, take them home, wash them with soap, then use magnets on your fridge to dry them or use a Countertop Bag Dryer.

Countertop Bag Dryer (Amazon)

Get a Lunchbox

Get a lunch box with small containers, then you can easily bring dinner leftovers, and a variety of things you love to eat.

Leak-proof Bento Lunch Box from Amazon

Reduce the Package Waste You Buy

Buy candies, nuts, cereals and cookies in the bulk food section of your grocery store, and instead of buying small packages of snacks, buy a large package and fill your own container at home to take with you.

Photo Credit: Ann CC BY 2.0

Recycle as Much as Possible

Did you know recycling builds a stronger economy? When you recycle, that resource is reused for a new product, like paper, beverage bottles, milk cartons or jugs, pet food tins, aluminium cans, glass jars and bottles.

Recycle Centers in Mobile and Baldwin Counties

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Coloring and Activity Book

Activity book from NOAA Marine Debris Program and Office of National Marine Sanctuaries for K-3

Be An Ocean Guardian (PDF)


Use one of these two free, downloadable slide shows at your next waste-free lunch event.

Waste-Free Lunch Slideshow

Recycle Game

Game developed by NOAA where if you throw a plastic bottle in the trash today, that bottle will sit in a landfill—or worse, float in the ocean—for thousands of years.

Recycle This Game


Earth Day Carol is a retelling of Charles Dickens' classic A Christmas Carol. In the dynamic free app version, Plastic Bottle Scrooge is visited by the ghosts Plastic Past, Plastic Present, and Plastic Future. Available on Android, iPhone, Amazon, and Nook

Earth Day Carol
Follow Create a Clean Water Future's board School Lunch Containers on Pinterest.