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Level-up your Lunchtime, not the landfill!

Office bin overflowing at the end of every lunch hour? You’re not alone. Try these tips from the team at Reusabowl to empower your staff to smash the trash!

Let’s face it: these days, most of us are too busy to prepare and bring our lunch to work every day. Takeaway lunches are becoming more and more popular as our lives get busier and our available eating options expand. Eating takeaways has a side effect: packaging and other non-edible material that comes with the meal ends up in the bin. For your business, that means bins fit to burst with extra rubbish. Recycling it is tricky, handling it is icky, and paying to remove it is getting more expensive!

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It gets worse: a huge amount of single-use packaging ends up in landfill - even the compostable or recyclable kind! Bad for the planet, and - depending on what you’re measuring - bad for your sustainability targets.

As individuals, sometimes all we need is a little guidance and some convenient solutions to put us on the right path. As a business, you can significantly reduce your workplace waste simply by providing your staff with a few tools and resources to empower them to ditch take away waste. It’s not about being a nagging waste warden - instead, bring staff on the journey and show them how a waste-free culture at work can be easy, fun and will actually improve their lunchtime. The team at Reusabowl have put together some tips to help employees Level-up their Lunchtime in the workplace.

Provide Shared Reusable Containers

The verdict is in: reusable packaging, of any shape and size, is better than single-use. Every time one of your employees uses a reusable container, they are stopping waste before it starts. Furthermore, because reusable containers keep resources in use for as long as possible, they beat out single-use alternatives on every environmental metric (including carbon emissions) once they have been used a few times. Warm fuzzies for everyone! But wait - there’s more! A reusable container usually provides a better eating experience, too: food stays warm longer, and no more leaks!

Providing your staff with a stock of dedicated reusable packaging in your workplace is one of the most effective ways to eliminate workplace waste. Providing a shared stock of reusables signals a “culture of reuse” within your business; this will be much more effective at encouraging uptake than relying on individual staff to buy and bring their own containers. Sharing containers also increases the number of times each container gets used (with washes in between, of course!) - this increases the positive environmental impact of each container. As a bonus, your business will get brownie points for walking the talk on waste minimisation!

Not all reusable containers are created equal. To get the best results, you’ll want containers that are:

  • the right size and shape to fit most takeaway food;
  • durable, without too many parts (clips, seals, etc.) that might break off over time; and
  • nice-looking, so you can display them prominently (and so staff are more likely to pick them up)!

Luckily we might know of a company focussing on this area… Get in touch with the team at Reusabowl if you’re interested in getting some dedicated reusable packaging for your staff’s takeaway lunches.

Set up a Lunch Station

Many eateries give away little condiment containers with their meal (case in point: those silly little soy sauce fishies you get with sushi!). So much unneeded plastic - and the contents are often thrown away too! Set up a stocked and dedicated “Lunch Station” in the kitchen or dining area.

Soy F Ish

Make sure you have the basics like salt, pepper, soy sauce, tomato sauce etc. available at all times and in a visible location so staff are aware it is there to be used. Ask staff what they would like to see in the lunch station before buying anything they don’t want. With this, you can avoid a lot of waste and impress your staff at the same time.

Fork Yeah!

Depending on the size of your space, consider dedicating a bunch of cutlery and chopsticks to takeaway food. Add the cutlery to the Lunch Station and leave it out in the open for people to take. If you’re in a larger workplace, it might be better to encourage people to bring (or donate) their own cutlery instead. Most people will have a spork or even a good old Kiwifruit spife knocking around at home they no longer use. Ask them to bring it in and procure a pile of dedicated reusable cutlery.

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Comms, comms, comms

Communicating your workplace’s desire to improve your sustainability performance is key for staff engagement and buy-in. Make sure you keep the comms consistent and clear and let people know well in advance if any changes are happening. Share any great tips you might have that will improve their experience in the office and fellow staff are sure to appreciate the efforts you’re putting in.


We all need a nudge now and then. After you’ve published your initial comms (see above), consider placing prompts in appropriate places to remind your employees about the new best practice. Placing fun and light-hearted messages near exits like the stairs and lifts, or on the back of toilet doors is a great way to remind people to take their reusable container (or say “no thanks” to that soy sauce fishy!) before they head out to lunch. Reminders are also very welcome on all digital platforms and can be sent as images, or you could use memes to keep it fun and engaging…

To make this even easier, Method has a recycling 101 program that provides you with Monthly recycling information to pass to your team to keep recycling and waste reduction front of mind - learn more here.

11 Reusabowl End Game DSC01062 Caption: All Reusabowl office partners have access to printable signage they can put up around their office space to gently remind staff about the reusable packaging they have available and where they can use it. Photo: Sarah Jean Creative - https://www.sjcreative.co.nz/


Sometimes a little healthy competition can go a long-way. Measure your landfill waste bin at the beginning of a given month, and set a target for staff to reduce it by half before the end of the month. Offer them a reward for their efforts, and you will hopefully see a more engaged uptake in waste-free activity. Make the reward something fun and universal, like finishing early on the final Friday to celebrate your waste-free efforts with drinks and nibbles. Grab some wine on tap from Everyday Wine to keep the celebratory tipple waste-free ;)

Keen to go reusable in your office?

If you are interested in stocking your office with specially designed reusable packaging for your staff, then please get in touch with the Reusabowl team here, check out the website or submit a workplace enquiry here.

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