Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Talking Waste Free Lunches at Green Drinks

Are you familiar with Green Drinks, the informal networking event where environmentally-minded people meet over drinks?

The Santa Cruz group is alive and well, meeting the first Thursday of each month for happy hour at Café Mare from 5:30 to 7:30.

Our next meeting is this week, so please join us at:
Date/Time: February 2nd, 2012  5:30-7:30 P.M.
Location: Cafe Mare, 740 Front St. Suite 100, in downtown Santa Cruz.

Green Drinks is a great way to meet new people, enjoy a well-priced happy hour drink, and engage in interesting conversation. Each week a speaker spends 15-20 minutes talking about a sustainability issue—which acts as a springboard for discussions on many topics.

And guess who’s going to be speaking this week:

Amy Hemmert from Laptop Lunches will discuss the ins and outs of implementing a waste-free lunch program. She will provide hands-on information, resources, and some success stories as well. She’s eager to hear your successes and challenges and is excited to answer all of your waste-free questions.

Please feel free re-post this info and to pass it along to friends and colleagues you feel would be interested.

Visit the Santa Cruz Green Drinks Facebook page:  http://www.facebook.com/pages/Green-Drinks-Santa-Cruz/194329337256895

Green Drinks events are held around the world! Learn more at www.greendrinks.org

Friday, January 27, 2012

Plastic: The Ideal Bento Box Material

Plastic is light-weight, non-breakable, versatile, colorful, durable, long-lasting, airtight, and fun.  That’s why the yogurt, milk, bread, cheese, meat, juice, tofu, and even the veggies we buy are wrapped or bagged in plastic. 

While disposable plastics are taking their toll on the environment, durable, long-lasting plastics, made of polypropylene and polyethylene, fill an important need in our lives.

It’s true that some plastics, like PVC and polystyrene, have been shown to leach toxins, but not all plastics are evil.

In choosing a material for our Laptop Lunches Bento Boxes and Bento Buddies containers, we weighed the pros and cons of all available options. We could have used stainless steel or glass, but once the pros and cons had been tallied, one thing became crystal clear: plastic was the winner. And here’s why:
  •       Our containers last a very long time. Unlike stainless steel, they do not rust, dent, or break when dropped. 
  •          Unlike glass and stainless steel, they are light-weight and easily portable.
  •          They hold up to the dishwasher, freezer and microwave.
  •          Plastic forms a tight seal, preventing seepage and leaks.
  •          Our bento containers are made in the USA, where we can closely monitor production. Manufacturing offshore in places like China and India makes it difficult to monitor factory compliance with material use, workplace safety, worker’s rights, and environmental protection laws. And our plastic doesn’t have to make the long journey across the ocean.
  •          Our plastic resin is made in the US. It’s not mined from the earth in countries such as India and China, where environmental protection laws are generally weaker than those in the US. 
  •          Plastic is easily recycled.
  •          And it’s completely safe.

We are committed to providing a durable, long-lasting, convenient, affordable, and safe alternative to disposable plastics.  We care deeply about our health and the health of our planet, which is why we chose plastic as the ideal bento box material.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Veggie Spectacular

This Week's Bento Lunch

This week we've packed our Bento Box full of goodness using a flavorful veggie tofu loaf as the main course. Whether you're a full time vegetarian or not, veggie loaves are a delicious way to incorporate great flavor and a number of vitamins and nutrients into your meal.

Click here to view this week's full menu. 

Friday, January 13, 2012

Creating Balance in 2012

If you're one of the many Americans that have resolved to save money, eat better or live a greener lifestyle in 2012, we hope you're putting your lunchbox to good use! Not sure how a lunchbox can really help you meet your goals? Well, it's time to: 

Resolution: Save money 
Take your lunch with you to work, travel, and on weekend outings. We're not the only one touting this easy money saving technique: 

"Although it can be fun to go out with your co-workers for lunch, the weekly tab can be stressful on your wallet. For example, let’s say you eat a pretty modest lunch even at a chain like Chili’s. You will probably spend at least $10-$12 per meal. If you work 5 days a week, that adds up to $50-60! Instead, you could probably spend $15-$20 on a week’s supply of groceries." 
Henak, B. (2011) 5 Simple Ways to Save money as a Young Professional. Retrieved from: http://newlycorporate.com/2011/06/17/5-simple-ways-to-save-money-as-a-young-professional/

Resolution: Eat better
Give your body the types of foods it needs in the correct portions. Not as easy as it sounds? Let your Bento Set help you create the balance to succeed: 
USDA MyPlate Healthy Lunch Guidelines

Resolution: Live a Greener Lifestyle
Making easy changes like reducing your waste is a great first step. According to wastefreelunches.org: 

typical school lunch
"Much of the trash we generate comes from the packaging on the food we buy, and lunch foods are no exception. In fact, it has been estimated that on average a school-age child using a disposable lunch generates 67 pounds of waste per school year. That equates to 18,760 pounds of lunch waste for just one average-size elementary school."

Ready to re-think that lunchbox? 
Visit us at, www.laptoplunches.com and we'll help you get started.  
We want to hear your success stories, so please be sure to share now and throughout the year. 

Everyone here at Laptop Lunches would like to wish you a happy, healthy, and successful 2012! 

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Beating the Chill

This Week's Bento Lunch

In an effort to keep ourselves warm from the inside out, over the weekend we made a big pot of chili, which we've been recycling for lunches. Whether it's warm or cold, chili is such a comforting food that it quickly takes the winter chill away.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Leftovers from the Appetizer Table

This Week's Bento Lunch

The holidays may be over but we're still hooked on fun (yet healthy) holiday food, so we've put some of our favorites from the appetizer table into this week's bento box. We topped off our appetizer spread with some homemade thumbprint cookies to make sure we were fully satisfied with holiday goodness as we ease back into our daily routines.

Click here to view this week's full menu.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Green Drinks

By Amy Hemmert
Laptop Lunches President and Co-founder 

We are so happy to hear that Green Drinks is alive and well in Santa Cruz! 

Not familiar with Green Drinks International?

Every month people interested in the environment and sustainability issues meet up at informal sessions known as Green Drinks. You’ll find people from NGOs, academia, government, business, and more. Show up and you'll be made welcome. Just say, "are you green?" and we’ll introduce you to whoever’s there. It's a great way to stay in touch with people you know and to make new connections as well. Everyone invites someone else along, so there’s always a different crowd, making Green Drinks an organic, self-organizing network.

Green Drinks events are casual and unstructured, and they’re great for finding employment, making friends, sharing ideas, learning about the latest sustainability trends, and creating opportunities. For more information or to find a group near you, visit the Green Drinks Web site at www.greendrinks.org.

The Santa Cruz chapter meets the first Thursday of every month from 5:30 to 7:30 at Café Maré. If you're in the area, please join us for happy hour and engaging conversation. Here’s what we’ve got in store for the next few months:

January 5: Share your 2011 sustainability successes and challenges and weigh in on discussion topics for 2012. Let’s make 2012 a sustainability year to remember!

February 2: Amy Hemmert from Laptop Lunches will discuss the ins and outs of implementing a waste-free lunch program. She’ll provide hands-on information, resources, and some success stories as well. She’s eager to hear your successes and challenges and is excited to answer all of your waste-free questions.

March 1: Aurora Winslade from UCSC will provide an overview of sustainability projects the university is currently involved in. Listen as students share their work.  Weigh in with ideas you have for additional sustainability opportunities in the Santa Cruz area.

April 5: Dave Garti from Grid Alternatives will talk about his work providing solar energy systems for low-income housing.

We'd love to hear about what other chapters of Green Drinks are doing as well, so if you're involved, please let us know.